Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent and fastest growing chronic conditions facing Canadians today. According to Statistics Canada, more than one million adults across the country reported having a hearing-related disability, a number more than 50% greater than the number of people reporting problems with their eyesight (StatsCan, 2002). However, of the 1 in 10 Canadians with a hearing loss, only 1 in 5 who could benefit from a hearing aid uses one.
Many people decide not to treat their hearing loss, citing the cost of hearing aids. Research has shown that the cost of untreated hearing loss is greater than the cost of hearing aids. Untreated hearing loss can have serious social, health and economic consequences for individuals and society.
Untreated hearing loss can result in:
The cost of hearing loss to the Canadian economy could be in the tens of billions of dollars. In the United States, the annual financial cost of hearing loss has been estimated between $122 billion and $186 billion. The bulk of this impact is due to lost productivity (higher unemployment and lower wages), which accounts for 57% of all costs associated with hearing loss. However, hearing loss also costs society billions of dollars each year in unrealized tax revenue and specialized health programs. In the United States, it is estimated that 50% of the costs of hearing loss could be recovered simply by providing hearing aids.
In a 2007 study by the Better Hearing Institute it was shown that without the use of hearing aids, the hearing-impaired individual can be expected to suffer losses in compensation due to underemployment, may make mistakes on the job, experience higher rates of unemployment and in general may experience an overall reduction in quality of life (i.e. anxiety, depression, social isolation, social paranoia, medical health, emotional stability, cognitive functioning, etc.) which may negatively impact job performance.
Not only do hearing aids stave off depression and improve quality of life but can also increase earning potential by enhancing communication skills and improving professional relationships.
If you suspect a hearing loss, book an appointment with one of our Doctors of Audiology today.