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New survey reveals almost half of patients diagnosed with hearing loss don’t receive treatment, UK

A new survey launched recently reveals an urgent need for better awareness, diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, a condition that affects approximately 10 million people in the UK. The survey found that 93% of people with hearing loss knew either nothing or only a little about the condition prior to their diagnosis, while almost half (46%) stated they were not currently receiving any treatment at all.

The Listen Up Britain survey commissioned by MED-EL, a provider of hearing implant systems, interviewed over 1,300 people including members of the general public, individuals with hearing loss and parents of children with hearing loss. The results of the research also revealed that:

  • Nearly one in five people said that if they had the symptoms of hearing loss, they would completely ignore it
  • Only 12% of people were aware of the true scale of hearing loss in the UK
  • Only 3% knew that people wait an average of 10 years between first noticing signs of hearing loss and getting tested
  • Nearly half of everyone questioned (44%) attributed the delay to the often gradual onset of the condition
  • 73% of people said that they knew someone with hearing loss

Commenting on the results, Sharmila Patel, a leading audiologist at St. George’s Hospital, London, said, “The Listen Up Britain survey provides further evidence of the lack of awareness and action around hearing loss in the UK. This is an issue that we really need to be making a lot more noise about. Studies have shown that by the time many people seek treatment, their ability to adapt and benefit from treatment is often greatly reduced. If you are experiencing hearing difficulties, don’t delay, talk to your GP and ask them to refer you for a simple hearing test. If someone you know is showing signs of hearing loss, talk to them about it and encourage them to take action.”

Cassandra Brown, Managing Director of MED-EL, the company behind the survey, added: “Removing the barriers to assessment, diagnosis and intervention is imperative to reduce the impact on quality of life and long-term damage associated with hearing loss. MED-EL is proud to be raising awareness of what is often a significantly under-reported condition.”

It is estimated that the number of people in the UK with some form of hearing loss will rise to 14.5 million by 2031. Although approximately six million people in the UK could benefit from hearing loss treatment, only two million have hearing aid devices and it is estimated that fewer than 90% of adults eligible for hearing implants, have been referred for one. This leaves at least four million people in the UK who could potentially benefit from some form of treatment.

A free online hearing test is available via http://www.medel.com/hearing-test/

Hearing implant systems are high-performance and complex medical devices for people affected by hearing loss and can restore the sensation of hearing in people who do not benefit from conventional hearing aids. Independent scientific studies have shown that hearing implants can positively impact many areas of life including: better speech comprehension, increased social contact, improved self-confidence, and overall greater quality of life after implantation.

About Hearing Loss

There are more than 10 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss. Around 6.4 million are of retirement age (65+) and about 3.7 million are of working age (16 ??” 64). There are over 45,000 deaf children living in the UK. The World Health Organisation predicts that by 2030 adult onset hearing loss will be in the top ten disease burdens in the UK, above both diabetes and cataracts.

About the Listen Up Britain Survey

The Listen Up Britain survey surveyed over 1,300 respondents. These included people randomly selected from the general population, those with a diagnosed hearing loss and parents of children with hearing loss.

The fieldwork was carried out by an independent market research agency, sponsored by MED-EL Medical Electronics, with respondents asked to complete both multiple choice and open-ended questions. The survey was undertaken in the UK between October and December 2014.