The impact of hearing loss on communities is profound.
From resulting health issues outside of hearing loss, to economic impact, the effects of hearing loss can be devastating.
Hearing loss does not always behave as an isolated health issue. Often, hearing loss—especially when left undiagnosed or untreated—results in other health issues, including communication difficulties, social isolation, depression, reduced quality of life, and loss of independence and mobility. Hearing loss is also associated with an increase in other more serious or chronic conditions such as dementia, diabetes, stroke, and sight loss.
Sometimes these issues arise as a direct result of hearing loss – for example, it’s not unusual for someone experiencing hearing loss to avoid situations—like work or social gatherings—where they’re expected to communicate with colleagues, friends, or family.
But in other cases, these issues might arise or worsen due to missed or misdiagnosis of hearing loss. This is particularly acute in the case of dementia. The symptoms of hearing loss and dementia can be very similar: trouble remembering new information, mood or personality changes, and difficulty having conversations are all symptoms of both conditions. Plus, both conditions are more prevalent in people over the age of 65. And when hearing loss is misdiagnosed as dementia—or when hearing loss co-exists with dementia—cognitive decline has been shown to accelerate.
It’s clear that hearing loss and overall health are inextricably intertwined. From exponentially increased risk of dementia, to depression, social isolation, and reduced quality of life, hearing loss can quickly become an insidious condition – swiftly percolating throughout families, networks, and entire communities.
But the impact of hearing loss – and of missed opportunities for the effective treatment of hearing loss – doesn’t end with health issues.
The economic impact of hearing loss on communities is estimated to be around $750 Billion globally. That’s a staggering number, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg: a study in the US showed that individuals with untreated hearing loss can cost society hundreds of thousands of dollars every single year. Recalling the links between hearing loss and dementia brings these costs into even sharper focus: The cost of caring for individuals with dementia alone costs communities in the UK billions of pounds every single year.
Further, it’s estimated that the earning potential of individuals with hearing loss is 50-70% less than those without hearing loss, over the course of their lifetime. When it comes to earnings, the US-based Better Hearing Institute calculates that household income can be negatively impacted by up to $12,000 per year for those with hearing loss.
Problems that impact communities; solutions that belong to community healthcare providers
Woven throughout the information on health and economic impacts of hearing loss is a clear, common thread: more opportunities for accurate, early diagnosis equals better health and economic outcomes.
And these opportunities must come from trusted healthcare providers – providers that are accessible, affordable, and better positioned to address the needs of their communities.
Taking hearing testing out of hospitals and putting it into the hands of trusted community health providers is key to attacking the issues that can arise from undiagnosed or untreated hearing loss. But taking hearing testing out of hospitals cannot – and should not – mean reduced quality of care.
AUDIMETROID is accessible, affordable, accurate hearing testing for community-based healthcare providers. It’s the first of its kind and it’s changing the way that the world tests for hearing loss with its technology, and the mission behind it.
AUDIMETROID’s unique spatial testing paradigm means that no patient with hearing loss is missed during screening. Plus, AUDIMETROID is easy to use, and can be safely deployed in a number of environments; all you need is a quiet, safe room. The tech itself is lightweight and designed for mobility, and healthcare providers untrained in audiology can safely, accurately administer hearing tests quickly, and easily. There’s no need for a referral from a doctor, and test results are returned almost immediately.
Community-based healthcare demonstrably improves health outcomes. By deploying safe, accurate diagnostic care for hearing loss to the communities that are impacted by this condition, healthcare providers can unlock opportunities for care and accelerate the provision of appropriate treatment for those who need it.
To learn more about the impact of hearing loss on communities, and to speak with a member of our team about how to deploy AUDIMETROID in your community, just reach out to us.