The Hearing Health Forum EU partnership aims to raise awareness of hearing health and the human and economic cost of untreated hearing loss.
We seek to promote inclusive and equal access to cost-effective ear and hearing care that can help improve the lives of European citizens and the sustainability of Europe’s health systems through universal design.
If you’d like to talk to us about hearing loss policy in your country, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also keep up to date with the latest hearing loss news by following us on LinkedIn or requesting our Resource Toolkit using the 'Get Info' button below.
A message from our Chairman
There are 196 million people who have hearing loss in Europe. We all know that hearing influences quality of life, but how often are the side effects and consequences of hearing loss given priority?
Hearing loss affects more than our ability to perceive sound, it can also be accompanied by deadly and costly comorbidities. In addition to increasing the risk of falls, studies have shown hearing loss increases the risk of cognitive decline. In fact, it is the number one modifiable risk factor for preventing cognitive decline.
Other studies show that untreated hearing loss leads to social isolation, loneliness and mental health conditions. Hearing loss also leads to serious health issues including high blood pressure and blood sugar levels, increasing the risk for diabetes.
As we currently spend a lot of money to improve quality of life for people with dementia or diabetes; let’s also invest in trying to reduce factors that can lead to these conditions, such as hearing loss.
Untreated hearing loss is estimated to cost the EU economy €213 billion each year.World Health Organization, Priority Diseases and Reasons for Inclusion. Available at: www.who.int/medicines/areas/priority_medicines/Ch6_21Hearing.pdf
When we talk about hearing loss, we must go beyond the individual and consider its wider implications for society and healthcare systems.
With 25% of people having hearing loss by the age of 70, Europe should prepare for the realities of an ageing population. This cost will rise as the population ages unless we act now.
To support a holistic approach to health, we must promote hearing health from prevention to screening and treatment. Beyond steps for citizens, we also need to:
- Shape strategies that raise awareness;
- Promote advocacy;
- Foster leadership and collaborations, and
- Enable research.
Through these steps, we work towards building an inclusive society for all.
MEP Alex Agius Saliba