Old name, new purpose: why we’ve gone back to RNID

Facts and figures

Find out the latest facts and figures on hearing loss and tinnitus.

Prevalence estimates

What our estimates are based on

Our hearing loss population estimates and hearing loss population projections are calculated using the most robust data available on the prevalence of hearing loss for different age groups from Davis, Hearing in Adults – 1995, combined with the latest available population estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). We’ve used population projection data from 2018 to calculate a hearing estimate for 2020.

In the UK there are 12 million adults with hearing loss greater than 25 dBHL. This is equivalent to one in five adults.

Reference: RNID prevalence estimates using Office for National Statistics population data (2018).


By 2035, we estimate there’ll be around 14.2 million adults with hearing loss greater than 25 dBHL across the UK.

Reference: RNID prevalence estimates using Office for National Statistics population data (2018).


There are at least 50,000 children who are deaf in the UK.

Reference: Consortium for Research into Deaf Education (CRIDE) reports 2019 UK-wide summary


An estimated 1.2 million people in the UK have hearing loss greater than 65 dBHL.

Reference: RNID prevalence estimates using Office for National Statistics population data (2018).


It is estimated that there are 151,000 people in the UK who use British Sign Language and, of these, 87,000 are Deaf.

Reference: The British Deaf Association (based on extrapolated consensus data from 2011)


In the UK, more than 40% of people over 50 years old have hearing loss, rising to more than 70% of people over the age of 70.

Reference: RNID prevalence estimates using Office for National Statistics population data (2018).


There are 7.1 million adults in the UK living with tinnitus.

Reference: The British Tinnitus Association (2019)


Support and care

  • Hearing loss can lead to withdrawal from social situations, emotional distress, and depression. Research shows that it increases the risk of loneliness, but only for those who don’t wear hearing aids.     
  • Hearing loss can increase the risk of dementia by up to five times, but evidence also suggests that hearing aids may reduce these risks.
  • Many more people could benefit from hearing aids than are currently doing so – only around 40% of people who need hearing aids have them.
  • Evidence suggests that people wait on average 10 years before seeking help for their hearing loss and that when they do, GPs fail to refer 30–45% to NHS audiology services.

Technology and treatments

  • Hearing research is significantly underfunded. In 2018, less than 1% of the total public and charity investment in medical research was spent on hearing research. That adds up to just 83p spent for every person affected.

Equality

  • Our Hidden Disadvantage report found that 70% of people with hearing loss who responded to our survey said that hearing loss sometimes prevented them from fulfilling their potential at work.
  • Our Working for Change report found that 35% of business leaders surveyed in our YouGov poll don’t feel confident about employing a person with hearing loss.
  • Nine out of ten respondents to our Speak Easy survey said background noise was the biggest problem they face when eating out.
  • Our Progress on Pause report found that 87% people with hearing loss have started to watch a programme on-demand and found that it had no subtitles.