True cost of hearing loss
Left untreated, hearing loss can lead to social isolation, anxiety, depression, unemployment and even early death. But there is a solution…
‘I shut myself off from everyone and became very lonely and isolated,’ says cochlear implant recipient Robert Morrow of life before his implant. Robert’s reaction to suddenly losing his hearing at the age of 56 is far from unique. A new report from The Ear Foundation reveals that hearing loss in adults is closely linked to social isolation, as well as unemployment, poor health, depression, dementia and early death.
Over 10 million people in the UK have hearing loss, costing the economy an estimated £30 billion a year. But that’s only a fraction of the true cost of hearing loss.
Hearing loss and physical and mental health problems
The Ear Foundation’s report highlights the health issues linked to hearing loss. Hearing loss increases the risk of falling and is linked to conditions including diabetes, stroke and sight loss. Plus, the associated stress from hearing loss makes people far more prone to other illnesses.
Hearing loss can also increase the risk of mental health problems, with anxiety, depression and paranoia particular risks. There is even growing evidence linking hearing loss to cognitive decline and dementia.
Hearing loss and early death
One of the most alarming findings in the report is the link between hearing loss and early death, particularly in older adults who also have eyesight problems.
Hearing loss and social life
The report reveals the ‘devastating effect’ of hearing loss on social interactions. Significant self-esteem issues develop, with hearing-impaired adults far more likely to experience emotional distress and want to have less to do with other people.
Hearing loss and employment
There are 300,000 people of working age with severe hearing loss in the UK. Of them, 20 per cent are unemployed and seeking work, compared with 6.2 per cent in the general working population.
The hearing solution
Even though many of the report’s findings are alarming, there’s no need to panic if you or a loved one has hearing loss. The report stresses that these issues can be effectively addressed with modern hearing solutions.
‘Today’s hearing technologies offer the opportunity to transform the lives of adults with hearing loss,’ it says, highlighting both improved quality of life and significant economic benefits for people with hearing solutions like cochlear implants.
The information on this website is for educational purposes, and is not intended to replace medical advice. Please consult a hearing healthcare professional to diagnose or treat a hearing or health problem.