Home Health Millions more hit by hearing loss than previously thought as new data...

Millions more hit by hearing loss than previously thought as new data shows true impact

One in three UK adults – or 18 million people – are affected by hearing loss, according to new estimates. The figure is six million higher than was previously calculated using a definition from the 1980s.

Experts at the universities of Manchester and Nottingham re-evaluated prevalence using updated population estimates.

When people with a milder degree of hearing loss in both ears were taken into account, the figure stood at 12.3 million adults.

If those with hearing loss in only one ear were included, it climbed to 18 million.

Study co-author Professor Kevin Munro, of the University of Manchester, said the updated figures “more accurately reflect the number of adults in the UK who have impaired hearing that will cause listening difficulty, especially in background noise”.

READ MORE: TV doctor’s warning over pins and needles with two things to look out for

He added: “Maintaining the hearing health of adults is a strong social responsibility.

“So it is important to acknowledge that millions of people’s experiences have effectively been dismissed by existing data which means they are effectively left out of the national conversation.”

Co-author Professor Michael Akeroyd, from the University of Nottingham, added: “The way we define hearing loss puts us at odds with most other countries.

“By modernising these numbers, we align with the latest international practice. We hope it will encourage more people to realise how common hearing loss is.”

The new estimate was backed by the Royal National Institute for Deaf People.

Victoria Boelman, the institute’s director of insight and policy, said:“RNID welcomes this new insight as a step forward in our understanding of the UK’s community of people with hearing loss.

“The updated statistics now reflect and include the real-life experience of the 18 million people in the UK who have different and diverse experiences of deafness and hearing loss.

“By previously excluding people with milder hearing loss or hearing loss in a single ear, society had effectively dismissed millions of people’s experiences and not factored them into national conversations.”

The researchers also called for further research to investigate changes in factors that influenced the 1980s estimated, on which the new analysis was based.

These include potentially lower levels of occupational hearing loss today due to reductions in heavy industry, greater population diversity, and the possibility of greater hearing loss from recreational noise exposure.

The study was published in the International Journal of Audiology.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here