world health hearing loss report

New WHO Report Outlines Vital Role of Early Identification of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a global challenge that affects an astonishing one in three people over the age of 65. To intensify the matter, untreated loss, as a plethora of studies indicate, increases the risk of health complications, including dementia, depression, social isolation, and more frequent hospitalizations.

A new, wide-ranging report, however, reveals the pervasive impact of hearing loss across Europe and the globe. The report, Hearing Loss – Numbers and Costs from hear-it AISBL, a non-profit organization, is based on analysis of hundreds of scientific studies from the last twenty years.  

The report was issued by the hear-it group to correspond with World Hearing Day on March 3, a global awareness day, declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). A primary call-to-action linked to this campaign encourages the public to check their hearing, which is the first step towards addressing hearing loss. The Hear-it website provides a free on-line hearing test that allows people to collect some baseline information about their hearing.

The new report demonstrates that the use of hearing aids and other interventions by persons with hearing loss enable them to live better, more fulfilling lives.

In the face of this evidence, many people who would benefit from hearing devices remain undiagnosed and untreated. Checking for hearing loss and seeking treatment is therefore critical in maintaining not only personal well-being, but also assisting public health bodies in tackling increasing social challenges related to an aging society in Europe and around the globe.

The report, “Hearing Loss – Numbers and Costs”, is a meta study which analyzed and compared hundreds of scientific studies and papers in the last two decades about the prevalence and the consequences of hearing loss, as well as the use and benefits of hearing aids.

“The scientific report clearly demonstrates that untreated hearing loss is a major health issue and that untreated hearing loss has a huge economic and social impact on our society. (The report) also documents that checking your hearing and treating hearing loss pays, both for the individual and for society,” says Secretary General Kim Ruberg of hear-it AISBL.

A full report from WHO on the consequences of untreated hearing loss and the cost-effectiveness of various interventions can be found here.