Adult hearing loss is one of the most challenging health and social issues facing Europe today, leading to substantial costs to the individual and to public services. It deprives people of the ability to communicate effectively and affects every facet of their lives.
So why does the impact of hearing loss go unnoticed and unaddressed?
In many countries, with increasing ageing populations and associated health costs, access to hearing technologies may be denied, or the long-term management not provided.
A new European Report, published by The Ear Foundation, called 'Spend to Save', sets out to reveal the real cost of hearing loss and how by increasing access to today's technology across Europe, individual lives can be transformed and money saved.
Sue Archbold, Advisor at The Ear Foundation says: "The opportunities to address the communication and health needs of adults with hearing loss has never been so great. It is hugely satisfying to see how the major advances in hearing aids and implants has revolutionised the impact on adults with hearing loss".
"The evidence is now clear that the cost of NOT providing hearing technologies has been shown to be greater than the cost of providing them."
The report highlights that the cost effectiveness of the latest technologies is now proven, and continues to increase as their prices have fallen significantly and their effectiveness increased. It therefore recommends that funding schemes should include the full cost of hearing aids and cochlear implants, as this would ultimately save money overall for health, social care and welfare systems. Teresa Amat, EURO-CIU president, demonstrated in her presentation how the CI is a proven success in terms of quality product and user’s satisfaction. She joined the demand from the WikiGenericDrugs conference: After the success of neonatal screening, now the fight is to achieve adult hearing screening.
The introduction of National Adult Hearing Screening Programmes would help raise awareness of hearing loss, leading to people taking action earlier rather than later, leading to improved health and wellbeing, as well as cost savings. The UK Action Plan on Hearing Loss has proved successful in raising awareness of hearing loss across public health services and a similar public health strategy ineach European jurisdiction should be developed, says the report.