BRUSSELS, Belgium — Data from an October 2006 study commissioned by the non-profit organization, Hear-it, regarding hearing loss in Europe suggest that 16% percent of adult Europeans suffer from hearing loss great enough to adversely affect their daily life—far higher than the previously assumed 10% figure for worldwide incidence of hearing loss.  The study, “Evaluation of the Social and Economic Costs of Hearing Impairment” by Bridget Shield also shows that a similar proportion—about one in six—of people needing hearing help uses a hearing aid.

In Europe, about 71 million adults aged18 to 80 years have a hearing loss greater than 25 dB, the definition of hearing impairment recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), reports Hear-it. In the EU alone, the number of people with hearing loss is more than 55 million.

“Hearing loss affects every family. It has now been documented that one in six adults suffers from hearing loss and that only a fraction of those with hearing impairment actually use hearing aids. This is sad, because hearing loss is inexpensive to treat, and surveys have demonstrated that modern hearing aids promote general well-being and improve the quality of life of those who use them,” says Kim Ruberg, Secretary General, Hear-it AISBL.
According to the same report, only one in six of those who could benefit from using hearing aids are being treated with hearing aids. Numerous scientific surveys show that the satisfaction among hearing aid users is high, and several studies have concluded that the use of hearing aids causes significant improvement in the quality of life.
The reported findings make it possible to calculate the numbers of people with hearing impairment in any given region or area in Europe and other industrialized nations, according to Hear-it.
Germany: 10.2 million
France: 7.6 million
United Kingdom: 7.5 million
Italy: 7.2 million
Spain: 5.5 million
Poland: 4.7 million
The Netherlands: 2 million

According to Hear-it, applying these same numbers to a sampling of countries outside of Europe would yield:

United States: 39 million
Canada: 4 million
Australia: 2.6 million

Knowles Electronics MarkeTrak VII data, published by Sergei Kochkin, PhD, in the July 2005 HR, suggests that about 1 in 10 people in the United States (31.5 million people) have a significant hearing loss, and about 23.5% of these people (7.4 million people) own a hearing aid.