When people think about hearing loss, they generally don’t think about the impact hearing loss has on our society as a whole, not to mention the impact it has on a large segment of our population who live with the loss of their hearing on a daily basis. Hearing loss has been linked to higher unemployment rates, depression, dementia, increased mortality, and more. Additionally, hearing loss is one of the most common, widespread conditions that affects about a third of our adult population and it’s also one of the most easily treated.
What Is The Real Cost Of Hearing Loss?
Unfortunately, the impact of hearing loss in adults is rarely acknowledged by society; however, with the proper education and continued efforts for bringing the cost versus the savings to light and the solutions necessary to make it all happen could change all that. Hearing loss costs our health systems, welfare systems, and our economy billions of dollars each year and not addressing hearing loss as a societal problem rather than a lifestyle issue is creating a huge burden on our economy.
- Higher Unemployment Rates
When a person experiences hearing loss, they oftentimes can’t work and therefore isolate themselves from society due to not being able to communicate. This leads to higher unemployment rates and a drop in the number of people contributing to the tax base.
Hearing loss often leads to depression, which costs our healthcare and welfare systems more and more money each year. Additionally, when a person is depressed, they generally don’t function like a happy person who goes out and socializes and spends money, which also contributes to society.
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Researchers are finding that hearing loss could also lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, both of which create a huge burden on our health and welfare systems. However, if advanced hearing technology was made more accessible, that burden would be significantly lowered through the reduced or delayed possibility of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The solutions to this epidemic are really rather simple. The problem is getting society to change the way they think about hearing loss and the treatment thereof, but it all starts with the following:
- Providing national screening programs for adult hearing loss
- Making technology such as hearing aids more accessible
- Educating people about cochlear implants and other advanced technology
Our society as a whole could conservatively save billions of dollars each year by being proactive when it comes to addressing hearing loss and making its solutions more accessible. Especially if every opportunity is taken to improve hearing and provide the necessary technology, such as hearing aids, and over time, health care costs could be reduced. A skilled person of working age could return to society as a contributing member, which means they will also be paying taxes. However, had appropriate hearing technology not been provided, neither of these activities would have taken place but would have created additional costs rather than savings.
The Bottom Line
The long term health consequences of hearing loss for us as a society can be easily turned around, if it’s approached in the right manner. Just as with any business, you have to spend money to make money. Well, hearing loss as it relates to us as a society has the same concept. However, getting the public to view hearing loss in an entirely different way is a whole other can of worms and one we should all be eagerly trying to open, if we want to experience a more productive, cost-effective society while improving the quality of life for a large segment of our population.