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One in Six Adults Suffers from Hearing Loss

Just a small minority of people needing hearing aids actually use them, even though hearing aids can be vital for work and improving quality of life.

Sixteen percent of adult Europeans suffer from hearing loss great enough to adversely affect their daily life. This is much higher than the previously generally assumed prevalence of 10 percent.

In Europe, over 70 million adults aged 18 to 80 years have a hearing loss greater than 25 dB (the definition of hearing impairment recognised by the World Health Organisation, WHO).

Hearing loss affects every family. It has now been documented that one in six adults suffers from hearing loss and that only a fraction of those with hearing impairment actually use hearing aids. This is sad, because hearing loss is inexpensive to treat, and surveys have demonstrated that modern hearing aids promote general well-being and improve the quality of life of those who use them.

Kim Ruberg, Secretary General, Hear-it AISBL.

Common Causes of Hearing Loss
The most common causes of hearing loss are AGEING and NOISE.
We all lose a percentage of our hearing sooner or later. Hearing loss is a natural consequence of getting older. Our hearing ability worsens from our 30s or 40s and onwards.  When we reach our 80s, more than half of us suffer from significant hearing loss. Despite that, more than half of all hearing-impaired people are of working age.
Noise is all around us at most hours of the day, often resulting in hearing loss and tinnitus. Daily exposure to excessive noise in the workplace is the primary factor in many cases of hearing loss in the working population.  Also, the increasing exposure to music through nightclubs, rock concerts, and MP3 players is causing hearing damage in high numbers of listeners, especially among young people.

Only one in every four of those who could benefit from using

hearing aids actually has hearing aids!

Numerous scientific surveys show that the satisfaction among hearing aid users is high, and several studies have concluded that the use of hearing aids causes significant improvement in the quality of life.  A hearing aid does more than help you hear. It also helps your brain remember the sounds you cannot hear without your hearing aid.

Hearing loss in Europe

Germany 10.2 million
France 7.6 million
United Kingdom 7.5 million
Italy 7.2 million
Spain 5.5 million
Poland 4.7 million
The Netherlands 2 million

Source: ”Evaluation of the Social and Economic Costs of Hearing Impairment”, October 2006, by Bridget Shield for Hear-it AISBL

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