- Published on 15 May 2019
April figures released by the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA) show that global adoption of hearing aids in 2018 grew faster than in either of the two preceding years. In 2016, sales grew 4.1%; and in 2017, by 5.7%. So, the trend is upwards for net wholesale unit sales by EHIMA manufacturers (the world's leading producers) to dispensers. Total unit sales for 2018 were 16,035,000.
On releasing these numbers, EHIMA Secretary General Dr. Stefan Zimmer pointed out the decrease in the share of untreated hearing loss, but he stresses the need for greater public awareness about the consequences of not treated hearing problems. The issue is brought into even sharper focus by another recent press announcement from EHIMA, claiming that "untreated hearing loss in the EU costs more than the annual EU budget". EHIMA takes its figures from an extensive July 2018 Brunel University/Hear-it AISBL meta study by Bridget Shield on the cost of hearing impairment in the European sphere; see it here.
The total estimated cost of €185bn each year—an amount €25bn euros higher than the entire EU budget for 2018—is the sum of two things: the estimated cost to the EU of lower quality of life due to disabling hearing loss (€130bn) and lost productivity due to higher unemployment among those with disabling hearing loss (€55bn). "The report proves how the social and economic costs of untreated hearing loss can be reduced significantly with a comprehensive treatment of hearing instruments," says EHIMA, which endorses Shield's report.
"There are 34.4 million people with a disabling hearing loss (35 dB or greater) in the EU. More than 22.6 million are not treated for their disabling hearing loss as only around one in three in Europe with a disabling hearing loss use hearing aids or other hearing solutions," EHIMA explains.