World Hearing Day 2017

Hearing well has no price: unaddressed hearing loss costs £640.7 billion pounds per year globally
Last update on Mar, 03, 2017

Checklist from the experts to reduce the impact of unaddressed hearing loss.

2017 World Hearing Day will be celebrated on March 3rd: the World Health  Organisation highlights the socio-economic impact of unaddressed hearing loss, an yearly  burden of £640.7 billion pounds, which leads to social barriers at work and in education.

UK, March 1st, 2017 – A burden of £640.7 billion pounds. This is the economic impact of unaddressed hearing loss, which in a year reaches the same amount as the gross domestic product of a country such as the Netherlands or the combined health expenditure of Brazil and China. An impressive impact that is estimated to be over £18.8 billion pounds each year for the UK. On occasion of the 2017 World Hearing Day (Friday, March 3rd), the World Health Organisation calls for action for hearing loss (Action for hearing loss: make a sound investment is the slogan). Addressing hearing loss is, in fact, necessary to reduce the impact related to isolation and communication difficulties, loss of productivity at work and academic underachievement. For these reasons experts share the “little checklist for hearing health” which, promoted by Amplifon, suggests 5 actions to reduce the effects of hearing loss.

The socio-economic impact of unaddressed hearing loss is an yearly burden of £640.7 billion pounds

“Every year 640.7 billion pounds are spent worldwide due to unaddressed hearing loss, over £18.8 billion pounds in the UK alone. It is an enormous amount of wasted resources, which is quite impressive, but not surprising. In fact, hearing well  – says Barry Downes, Professional Services Manager – plays a vital role throughout people’s entire life and ignoring any hearing loss can have a great social, and therefore, economic impact. For instance, hearing difficulties make it hard to communicate and can increase isolation and depression, even leading to greater use of antidepressant drugs. Moreover, the effects of hearing loss at school or at work should not be underestimated due to its negative influence on performance which may even lead to early retirement in some cases. In addition to that, hearing difficulties can accelerate, mainly in older people, the onset of cognitive decline and increase the risk of falling”.  

Hearing difficulties can accelerate the onset of cognitive decline and increase the risk of falling

Unaddressed hearing loss can increase social barriers in the education field, at work and in many other aspects of life. In children, for example, hearing plays a fundamental role in language development: hearing loss during childhood and adolescence may cause reduction in attention and concentration ability, as well as difficulty reading and understanding with a negative effect on school performance. Early detection and treatment of hearing loss has a positive impact on learning ability.

Likewise, it is important to monitor hearing health also in adults as it can increase the risk of isolation and depression which, in people who do not hear well, is twice as high than in those who have no hearing difficulties. Unaddressed hearing loss is also associated with an increased probability of having some cognitive decline, which can be up to five times higher in cases of profound hearing loss. Finally, action is needed also at work: estimates, in fact, point out that people with hearing difficulties are twice as likely to be unemployed than people who hear well

Early detection and treatment of hearing loss has a positive impact on learning ability

Bearing in mind the evidence of the negative consequences of unaddressed hearing loss, – adds  Barry Downes, Professional Services Manager - it is essential to take early action to treat it and reduce its impacts. Periodic hearing tests are of paramount importance not only for older people but also for people aged 40-65 to enable the early detection and correction of any hearing deficit before it becomes more severe. In the case of diagnosed hearing loss, even if mild to moderate in degree, it is advisable to look for the appropriate hearing solution as one would do for a pair of glasses for sight problems. Almost invisible and with advanced technology, modern hearing aids can improve hearing ability and thus also people’s quality of life”.

Periodic hearing tests play a crucial role in reducing the impact of hearing loss

Periodic hearing tests play a crucial role in reducing the impact of hearing loss, as well as early diagnosis and intervention; in more than 6 out of 10 cases, hearing loss could be avoided if adequate prevention was put in place1. Consequently, education initiatives are necessary in schools in order to produce the right level of awareness of a correct “sound ecology”.

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Little Checklist for hearing health

Promoted by Amplifon with the advice of Barry Downes, Professional Services Manager, 5 actions to reduce the impact of unaddressed hearing loss.
You can read more by viewing the brochure from the World Health Organisation here

1. Hearing screening

Hearing screening for all adults over 40 years of age should become routine to identify any hearing loss at its very beginning.

2. Spreading information

Spreading information and raising awareness on hearing health in schools in order to educate children to protect their hearing.

3. Testing hearing ability

Testing hearing ability at least once a year.

4. Taking action

Taking action with the appropriate hearing solution, having the solution customised for all types and degrees of hearing loss.

5. Promote the importance of a quality service

Promote the importance of a quality service and multidisciplinary approach to hearing loss as it is associated with other health issues such as depression, diabetes, cognitive decline and risk of falling.
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