Hearing Facts

Why is hearing important?

Hearing is an essential part of maintaining relationships and connections with friends and family, fully participating in team and community activities, and experiencing life events. Hearing enables people to engage, listen, laugh, and enjoy many of the things that help shape your quality of life.


How does hearing affect life?

The impacts of hearing loss are very broad and profound. They include a loss of the ability to communicate with others can cause delayed language development in children, which can inevitably lead to social isolation, loneliness and frustration, particularly among older people with hearing loss.


Does hearing go as you age?

Statistically one in 3 adults over age 65 has hearing loss. Because of the gradual change in hearing, some people are unaware of the change at first. Most often, it affects the ability to hear high-pitched noises such as a phone ringing or beeping of a microwave. The ability to hear low-pitched noises is usually unaffected.


As things stand more than 1.5 billion people (nearly 20% of the world population) live with hearing loss; 430 million of them have disabling hearing loss. It is expected that by 2050, there could be over 700 million people with impaired hearing loss.


Hearing loss statistics in the UK

It is estimated that there are approximately 12 million people in this country with a hearing loss which makes it the second most common disability in the UK.

Right now, there are more people living with hearing loss than diabetes, coronary heart disease and cancer put together!

However, as an invisible impairment, it so often goes unnoticed, making it easier for those living with hearing loss to be ignored or forgotten.

  • 1 in 5 of the UK adult population is affected by hearing loss.
  • 8 million of these are aged 60 and over.
  • 6.7 million could benefit from hearing aids but only about 2 million people use them.
  • About 900,000 people are severely or profoundly deaf.
  • About 12,000 people in the UK use cochlear implants.
  • Many people with hearing loss also have tinnitus which affects 1 in 10 adults. They may also have balance difficulties.
  • Hearing loss is associated not only with mental health conditions (see below) but also with numerous physical health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, anaemia, chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnoea, balance problems and an increased risk of falls.