Hearing loss can have profound effects that impact all aspects of life. Strained communication caused by hearing loss symptoms can take a toll on relationships, social life, work performance, and overall health. This multifaceted impact has associated costs that accumulate over time. Considering the prevalence of hearing loss: nearly 48 million people in the U.S. have some degree of impaired hearing, and nearly 1.6 billion worldwide; these collective costs are substantial. According to a recent study, the global economic costs of hearing loss recently exceeded $981 billion! 


Research on Global Costs of Hearing Loss 

To estimate the global costs of hearing loss in 2019, researchers at the London School of Economics conducted a study examining this link. Published in the International Journal of Audiology, this study involved analyzing costs that accumulated as a result of hearing loss. This includes: health care costs, lost income, educational support, and societal costs related to a reduced quality of life. Data was provided from the 2019 Goblaj Burden of Disease study which included information provided by 7,000 researchers across 156 countries. 


Key findings from the study include the following: 

  • Global economic costs of hearing loss exceeded $981 billion in 2019
  • 47% of costs 9 $461 billion –  were related to quality of life losses. This was defined as the number of years a person has lived with hearing loss and the various ways it strains quality of life.  
  • 32% of costs – $314 billion –  were related to additional costs of poor health in people with hearing loss. This encompasses medical expenses that are not from treating hearing loss but rather, addressing other health conditions that hearing loss likely contributed to. 
  • 19% of costs – $186 billion – were related to productivity losses. This includes any losses in income earnings related to hearing loss (unemployment or underemployment)
  • 2-3% of costs – $20 billion – were related to education. This includes costs for  additional educational resources needed as a result of hearing loss. 

Researchers suggested that these costs are expected to increase as hearing loss is on the rise globally. The number of people with hearing loss is expected to grow exponentially over the next few decades. Additionally, researchers suggested that available interventions could mitigate the accumulation of costs related to hearing loss. Specifically, the study highlighted that even a 5% reduction of the total population with hearing loss could reduce costs by $49 billion. This emphasizes the importance of addressing and treating hearing loss as early as possible. 


Treating Hearing Loss

Though hearing loss is the third most common chronic condition that people experience today, it is often underdiagnosed. The average person waits up to 7 years before seeking treatment! This delay can worsen impairment as well as the major effects untreated hearing loss has on health and quality of life including increased costs. Fortunately, there are extensive resources and vast information that makes hearing loss treatment accessible. 


Treating hearing loss is relatively simple and starts by having your hearing assessed. Hearing tests involve a painless and noninvasive process that measures hearing capacities in both ears. This process identifies any impairment and the degree of hearing loss you could be experiencing. Once your hearing needs are established, a hearing healthcare specialist is able to recommend treatment options to meet those needs, transforming your hearing health. The most common treatment for hearing loss are hearing aids. Hearing aids are electronic devices that are designed to detect and process speech and sound. These devices profoundly aids the ears and brain with absorbing, processing, and understanding sound which maximizes a person’s hearing capacity. This allows people to hear and communicate more effectively which offers life-changing benefits: strengthens communication, improves relationships, enriches social life, and enhances overall health. These benefits also reduce healthcare costs and additional costs associated with untreated hearing loss. 


Prioritize Your Hearing Health with Ear, Nose, & Throat Consultants 

You can take the first step to prioritize your hearing health today by calling us to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation. Our practice provides a range of services, individualized care, and expertise to identify and treat your hearing healthcare needs. We are committed to supporting you on your hearing health journey!