Lower quality of life and lost productivity
Lower quality of life due to disabling hearing loss costs the EU 130 billion Euros each year. Lost productivity in society due to a higher unemployment among people with a disabling hearing loss costs 55 billion Euros each year in the EU. In total, this is 185 billion Euros. The cost does not cover extra health care costs caused by hearing loss. A disabling hearing loss is defined by the Global Burden of Disease research group (GBD) as a hearing loss of 35 dB or greater.
In Europe as a whole – including non-EU countries – untreated, disabling hearing loss costs 216 billion Euros each year.
The report documents that the use of hearing aids and other hearing solutions improves health and increases quality of life. It also documents that people with an untreated, disabling hearing loss are at greater risk of social isolation, depression, cognitive decline and dementia, while people who treat their hearing loss do not experience a higher risk than people without hearing loss.
There are 34.4 million people with a disabling hearing loss (35 dB or greater) in the EU. More than 22.6 million are not treated for their disabling hearing loss as only around one in three in Europe with a disabling hearing loss use hearing aids or other hearing solutions. This is more than the combined population of Austria, Finland, Ireland and Lithuania. With a steadily aging population who live longer and longer and with an earlier onset of hearing loss due to increased noise exposure, this growth will increase even further in the years to come.