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Statement responding to the UK Health Research Analysis 2018

29 January 2020

A comprehensive new report on health research spending in the UK was published yesterday. The UK Health Research Analysis 2018 is an analysis of health and biomedical research awards active in the calendar year 2018, and is a good state-of-the-nation indicator on where medical research funding is being spent.

Hearing loss and other hearing conditions have been historically underfunded, and unfortunately, it seems that there is still much to do to get the level of investment it sorely needs.

The new research shows that:

  • Just 83p is spent on ear research per person affected by hearing loss in 2018. This compares to £193 per person living with cancer, £21 per person living with cardiovascular disease and £16 on eye research per person living with sight loss.
  • Only 0.4% of public health research spend in 2018 supported ear research.
  • Hearing research remains underfunded relative to other areas of medical research.

Our Executive Director of Research, Dr. Ralph Holme, said: “These figures are extremely disappointing. In 2014 we estimated that for every person with hearing loss, just £1.11 was spent on hearing research. For this to have gone down to a meagre 83p per person is concerning to say the least.

“Hearing loss and other hearing related conditions like tinnitus can have a profoundly disabling impact on people’s lives, and are associated with increased risks in everything from mental ill health to dementia. While hearing aids and cochlear implants are a lifeline to many and can be truly transformative, they are not a fix or cure.

“At Action on Hearing Loss we are doing amazing work, funding some truly ground-breaking research. That said, we are not a bottomless source of money – every penny spent on research is funded by our generous donors, and we can’t fund every exciting proposal that comes our way. These figures demonstrate how important it is that urgent action be taken to increase spending on this vital area of public health.”

UK Health Research Analysis 2018 (UK Clinical Research Collaboration, 2020) ISBN 978-0-903730-29-7: https://hrcsonline.net/reports/analysis-reports/uk-health-research-analysis-2018/

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Notes to editors

Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID) is the national charity helping people living with deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss to live the life they choose. Action on Hearing Loss enables them to take control of their lives and remove the barriers in their way, giving people support and care, developing technology and treatments, and campaigning for equality.