The numbers speak for themselves.
1 in 5 people worldwide have a hearing loss today.
In the UK alone, 86% of those who have a hearing loss are not aware of it, putting these individuals at risk of social isolation and experiencing negative health outcomes, including cognitive decline and dementia, falls, depression, increased number of hospitalization, reduced career prospects and a general decline in quality of life (Reed et al., 2019).
- By 2050, 1 in 4 people are projected to have problems with their hearing (WHO, 2021).
- Current hearing screening tests fall short of market needs, with the UK National Screening Committee (NSC) concluding in 2014 that: “a test [for hearing loss] with both positive and negative predictive values of sufficient reliability for screening has not been identified.” (Spiby, 2014).
- The WHO World Hearing Report (2021) showed the economic burden of unaddressed hearing loss is greater than $980 billion annually and included the cost of educational support, loss of productivity, health sector costs (excluding the costs of hearing devices), and societal costs.
- Hearing loss is a modifiable risk factor for dementia in later life. Management of hearing loss potentially reduces this risk by 9% (Livingston et al., 2017).
- Unmanaged hearing loss is a burden to the healthcare system and is associated with increased risk of hospitalisation in adults aged 70 years and older (Genther et al., 2013)
- It has been estimated that at least £28 million could be saved by Social Care Services in the UK, if hearing loss was properly managed in people with severe dementia in the community, thus delaying their need for admission into costly residential care (DCAL and Action on Hearing Loss, 2013).
Making care available at the earliest time point is the most important step to enable positive outcomes in managing hearing loss and crucial to avoid the down-wards spiral of hearing-loss related co-morbidities.
We are building the next generation of hearing-test technology that has the potential to transform how patients first gain access to care worldwide, enabling earlier diagnoses for the millions people who develop hearing loss each year.
DCAL and Action on Hearing Loss (2013). Joining Up: Why people with hearing loss or deafness would benefit from an integrated response to long-term conditions.
Genther, D. J., Frick, K. D., Chen, D., Betz, J., & Lin, F. R. (2013). Association of hearing loss with hospitalization and burden of disease in older adults. Jama, 309(22), 2322-2324.
Livingston, G., Sommerlad, A., Orgeta, V., Costafreda, S. G., Huntley, J., Ames, D., … & Mukadam, N. (2017). Dementia prevention, intervention, and care. The Lancet, 390(10113), 2673-2734.
Reed, N. S., Altan, A., Deal, J. A., Yeh, C., Kravetz, A. D., Wallhagen, M., & Lin, F. R. (2019). Trends in health care costs and utilization associated with untreated hearing loss over 10 years. JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, 145(1), 27-34.
Spiby, J. (2014). Screening for Hearing Loss in Older Adults. External review against programme appraisal criteria for the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC).
World Health Organization (2021). World report on hearing: executive summary. Geneva. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.