The Impact of Hearing Loss

  • In England the additional costs associated with hearing loss are estimated at £30.13 billion per year, including medical and social costs (Lamb, Archbold, O’Neil, 2016, 2015)
  • Hearing loss is associated with greater use of medical and social services but increased use of hearing aids and cochlear implants leads to less use of health and social care services (O’Neil, Lamb, Archbold 2016)
  • Hearing Loss is the number one cause of Years Lost to Disability in those over 70 in Western Europe and fourth worldwide. (Davis 2016)
  • Those with severe hearing loss are at five times the risk of developing dementia as those with normal hearing (Lin 2012)
  • In older age people with hearing loss are at greater risk of social isolation and reduced mental well-being (Shield 2006)
  • Older people with hearing loss are two and half times more likely to experience depression than those without hearing loss (Mathews 2013) and are also at increased risk of major depression (Davis 2011)
  • Social isolation has an effect on health and in older people there is a strong correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline (Lin 2013), mental illness and dementia (Lin 2011) and premature death (Contrera 2015)
  • Those with hearing loss have higher rates of unemployment and underemployment (Kochkin 2007, 2010)
  • The use of hearing instruments can attenuate cognitive decline (Amieva 2015)

The use of hearing aids and cochlear implants can make a profound difference to people being able to address their hearing loss and reduce burdens on public services while enhancing personal well being and health.


Amieva, H. Ouvrard, C. Giulioli, C. Meillon, C. Rullie,R. L. Dartigues, JF. Self-Reported Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids, and Cognitive Decline in Elderly Adults: A 25-Year Study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015 Oct;63(10):2099-104.

Davis, A. et al., (2016) Aging and Hearing Health: The Life-course Approach. Gerontologist, 2016, Vol. 56, No. S2, S256–S26.

Kochkin, K. (2007) The Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss on Household Income. Better Hearing Institute instruments on quality of life. Hearing Review 7(1).

Kochkin S. (2010). The efficacy of hearing aids in achieving compensation equity in the workplace. The Hearing Journal, 63(10): 19–28. Medicine; 172:369-71.

Lamb, B. Archbold, S. O’Neill, C. (2015) Bending the Spend: Expanding technology to improve health, wellbeing and save public money. Ear Foundation.

Lamb, B. Archbold, S. O’Neill, C. (2016) Investing in Hearing Technology Improves Lives and Saves Society Money. Ear Foundation.

Lamb, B. (2016) Expert opinion: Can different assessments be used to overcome current candidacy issues?, Cochlear Implants International, 17:sup1, 3-7,

Matthews, L. (2013) Hearing Loss, Tinnitus and Mental Health. A literature review. Action on Hearing Loss.

Lin, F.R. Metter, E. O’Brien, R.J. Resnick, S.M. Zonderman AB,Ferrucci L. Hearing Loss and Incident Dementia. Arch Neurol. (2011); 68 (2):214-220.

Lin and Ferrucci (2012) Hearing loss and falls among older adults in the United States. Archives of Internal Medicine  172(4): 369-371.

O’Neill, C., Lamb, B., Archbold, S. (2016) Cost implications for changing candidacy or access to service within a publicly funded healthcare system? Cochlear Implants International, 17:sup1, 31-35

Shield, B, ‘Evaluation of the social and economic costs of hearing impairment’.  A report for Hear-It AISBL, 2006.

WHO Report for World Hearing Day. 2017.  for their report Global cost of unaddressed hearing loss and the cost-effectiveness of interventions.