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A Commission composed of health and hearing loss experts have welcomed the long awaited publication of the Action Plan on Hearing Loss

Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of the ILC-UK and Chair of the Commission, said

“The Commission and many others have been campaigning for quite some time for the publication of the Action Plan and I am heartened to see some of our previous recommendations have been taken forward and a real commitment to improve the access and delivery of hearing care services for patients.

However, we must continue to push forward opening up hearing services so that people can self-refer as this will increase accessibility and reduce the likelihood of people falling through the net.

We also feel that we need to detect hearing loss earlier and that is why the Commission in our last report called for a national screening programme for adults and for hearing loss to be built into health check –ups for those likely to be at risk of hearing loss.

Unlike sight loss, many people do not ever, or wait far too long, to get their hearing checked. On average, people wait 10 years – that is 10 years of potentially not hearing your loved ones and friends properly, or being able to enjoy your favourite TV programme.”

A previous report published by the Commission last year highlighted the perils of ignoring the individual, economic and social cost of hearing loss. The report presented new data to show not only the predicted growth in the number of people with hearing loss, which is set to account for almost 20% of the total population by 2031 [1], but also highlighted a £25 billion loss to the UK economy in potential economic output [2].

Notes to Editors
1. By 2031, it is expected that there will be 14.1 million people in the UK with hearing loss – accounting for nearly 20% of the total population.

2. We calculate that in 2013, due to lower employment rates for those with hearing loss than across the rest of the population, the UK economy lost £24.8bn in potential economic output. Using the ILC-UK’s economic growth model, we project that, if nothing is done to address lower employment rates for those with hearing loss, in 2031 the UK economy will lose £38.6bn in potential economic output.
 

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