World Hearing Day 2017

The World Health Organisation has declared 3 of March every year to be World Hearing Day and this year the theme in taking action for hearing loss is “Make a Sound Investment”. Jensen Hearing supports this initiative by the World body.

The WHO had made calculations on the cost of hearing loss to the World. All costs are calculated for moderate or higher degrees of hearing loss, i.e. hearing level greater than 35 dB in the better-hearing ear. The costs are estimated in 2015 international dollars (a unit of currency defined by the World Bank and represented simply as $ throughout the report).

  • The cost to the health-care sector, for adults and children, is estimated to be in the range $67–107 billion. This does not include the cost of providing hearing devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants.
  • A conservative estimate of the cost to the education sector of providing support to children (5–14 years) with unaddressed hearing loss is $3.9 billion. This assumes that only children with at least moderately severe hearing loss (hearing level greater than 50 dB in the better-hearing ear) require educational support.
  • Between 63% and 73% of the global costs to health and education sectors are incurred in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Loss of productivity, due to unemployment and premature retirement among people with hearing loss, is estimated to cost $105 billion annually.
  • Societal costs – the result of social isolation, communication difficulties and stigma – add a further
    $573 billion each year. These costs are calculated on the basis of the monetary value attached
    to avoidance of a year lived with disability and draw upon disability-adjusted life years (DALYs)
    attributed to hearing loss.

Overall, this analysis suggests that the annual cost of unaddressed hearing loss is in the range $750– 790 billion globally. The analysis takes no account of certain aspects of hearing loss, the costs of which are not well documented in literature, such as the costs of providing informal care, or preschool learning and higher education for people with unaddressed hearing loss.

The analysis does not take into account certain aspects of hearing loss, the costs for which are not well documented in literature, such as costs of informal care provision, higher education and pre-school learning for persons with unaddressed hearing loss.

The analysis was limited by the absence of country-specific data, especially from low- and middle income countries; nevertheless, it provides a realistic but conservative illustration of the costs associated with unaddressed hearing loss.


Download a copy of the report – Cost Of Unaddressed Hearing Loss Executive Summary