- The 2020 Lancet Commission on dementia prevention identified hearing loss as the largest potentially modifiable risk factor for dementia .
- Hearing loss in mid-life accounts for up to 8.2% of all dementia cases.
- Previous research shows that having hearing loss can increase the risk of dementia by up to five times, but evidence suggests hearing aids may reduce the risk of cognitive decline .
Access to Audiology
- 38% of people who think they may have a hearing loss have not spoken to a professional about it .
- An estimated 7 million adults could benefit from hearing aids but only about 2 million people use them .
- People who visit their GP about their hearing loss are not always referred on to see an ear or hearing specialist .
- Evidence suggests that people delay seeking help for their hearing loss .
- A recent survey (2022) from the RNID has shown that only 6% of UK individuals, who have not been diagnosed with hearing loss, took a hearing check in the last 12 months. Despite this lack of action, a staggering 98% of individuals said that their hearing was important to them.
- A recent survey (2022) from the RNID has shown that people regularly have other health checks including a dental check-up (53%), an eye test (46%), or having their blood pressure checked (44%) .
- People who are deaf or have hearing loss or tinnitus are more likely to experience health inequalities.
- Socioeconomic inequalities, education level and occupation may affect the likelihood of developing hearing loss .
- People who are deaf or have hearing loss are more likely to have multiple medical conditions and overall worse health status compared to those without hearing loss .
- There is a clear regional disparity in the prevalence of hearing loss, showing hearing health inequality between the North and South of England .
- People who are deaf or have hearing loss are twice as likely to experience mental health problems compared to people without hearing loss .
- Evidence shows that the rate of depression amongst deaf BSL users is double that of the general population .
Our 2022 survey about NHS ear wax removal services found that:
- 66% of respondents had been told ear wax removal was no longer available on the NHS.
- more than a quarter of respondents could not afford to get their ear wax removed privately.
- 71% of respondents resorted to attempting to remove ear wax themselves, although two thirds did not feel confident doing this.
- people described using dangerous methods to remove their ear wax, including hair clips, paper clips, toothpicks, cotton buds and Hopi ear candles.
- after trying to remove ear wax themselves, only 20% of respondents said their problems went away .
 (1) 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, combined with the latest available population estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Read the report on hearing in adults from the MRC National Study of Hearing.
 (2) The estimate 2 million people using hearing aids is based on EuroTrak 2022 UK Survey data and Adoption. Visit the EuroTrak website.
 (3) Anecdotal evidence taken from RNID’s Contact Centre and Health Programme.
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