Results from a hearing loss survey undertaken in the United Kingdom between October and December 2014 reveal that 46% of British people diagnosed with hearing loss don’t receive any treatment for it. According to an announcement from the “Listen Up Britain” project, hearing loss affects approximately 10 million people in the UK. The survey, reportedly commissioned by hearing implant provider MED-EL, involved interviews with over 1,300 people. Respondents included people who were randomly selected from the general population, individuals with hearing loss, and parents of children with hearing loss.
The “Listen Up Britain” survey, for which respondents were asked to complete both multiple choice and open-ended questions, found that 93% of people with hearing loss knew little to nothing about the condition prior to their diagnosis. Survey results also revealed that:
- Nearly one in five people said that if they had the symptoms of hearing loss, they would completely ignore it
- Only 12% of people were aware of the true scale of hearing loss in the UK
- Only 3% knew that people wait an average of 10 years between first noticing signs of hearing loss and getting tested
- Nearly half of everyone questioned (44%) attributed the delay to the often gradual onset of the condition
- 73% of people said that they knew someone with hearing loss
“The Listen Up Britain survey provides further evidence of the lack of awareness and action around hearing loss in the UK,” said Sharmila Patel, an audiologist at St. George’s Hospital who commented on the survey results. “This is an issue that we really need to be making a lot more noise about. Studies have shown that by the time many people seek treatment, their ability to adapt and benefit from treatment is often greatly reduced.”
Patel recommended that if someone is experiencing hearing difficulties, it’s best not to delay seeking treatment. It is advisable to get a referral for a simple hearing test.
“Removing the barriers to assessment, diagnosis and intervention is imperative to reduce the impact on quality of life and long-term damage associated with hearing loss,” said Cassandra Brown, managing director of MED-EL. “MED-EL is proud to be raising awareness of what is often a significantly under-reported condition.”
According to the hearing loss survey announcement, of the more than 10 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss, around 6.4 million are of retirement age (65+) and about 3.7 million are of working age. There are over 45,000 deaf children living in the UK. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2030 adult onset hearing loss will be in the top ten disease burdens in the UK.
Source: MED-EL and Listen Up Britain
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