"Real-life" analysis of UK's hearing loss stats sets a new figure of over 18 million

The study, by leading hearing research centres in Manchester and Nottingham, adds six million more cases than previously thought.

Peter WIX, Published on 12 June 2024

“Real-life” analysis of UK’s hearing loss stats sets a new figure of over 18 million

It helps to have a figure when you want to assess the importance of a widely suffered medical condition. And the extent of hearing loss in a population is a concern for which quantification is key in professional and manufacturing spheres.

So, a new analysis by leading researchers of how many people are affected by hearing loss in the UK is going to give pause for thought, especially one that shows that six million more people have the condition than the previous count recorded.

Reflecting what Victoria Boelman, director of insight and policy for the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, called “the real-life experience of the 18 million people in the UK”, the new analysis brings the UK’s statistics up to date through census projections and a revision of a forty-year-old definition of hearing loss that academics say had missed millions of cases.

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©Bernadette Delaney Photography
Prof. Kevin Munro

Professor Kevin Munro, NIHR Senior Investigator, based at the University of Manchester, said that under the previous definition of hearing loss, millions of people’s hearing loss experiences were “effectively dismissed”.

Including milder degrees of hearing loss, such as problems in only one ear, the new total comes to over 18 million people.

18m is the new magic number for hearing loss in the UK


Co-author of the study, Michael Akeroyd, Professor of Hearing Sciences at the University of Nottingham, explained that these “modernised” statistics could “encourage more people to realise how common hearing loss is”.

Researchers say further investigations need to follow this statistical analysis and look into the impact of factors such as recreational noise exposure and greater population diversity.

But without entering into the finer details, there is no doubt that having good evidence, gathered by well respected researchers, of a much larger hearing loss population than was previously calculated will be of much interest to the hearing aid industry. It underlines a manufacturing mantra about unmet hearing treatment need. The number 18m has a ring to it.

Source: BBC