Hearing Loss Statistics

There are 12 million people living with a hearing loss greater than 25dB, which is equivalent to 1 in 5 people. It is the second most common disability in the UK, and there are more people living with hearing loss than diabetes, coronary heart disease and cancer put together! The number of people with hearing loss is also expected to rise to 14.2 million people by 2035.

Hearing loss can be sudden, but it is often gradual, meaning that some people don’t notice it at first. On average, people wait ten years before seeking treatment for hearing loss, and over 3 million people are thought to be living with untreated hearing loss in the UK, at a cost of £8,500 per person.

Hearing Loss Facts

  • 12 million people (17.82% of the UK population) have a hearing loss greater than 25dB 
  • More than 40% of people over 50 in the UK have hearing loss, with this rising to over 70% of people over 70
  • 11,000 workers have work-related hearing problems
  • 26.7% of over 70s have mild hearing loss; 36.8% have moderate; 6.3% have severe, and 1.3% have profound
  • 21.6% of over 50s have mild hearing loss; 16.8% have moderate; 2.7% have severe, and 0.6% have profound
  • Hearing loss research remains significantly underfunded compared to other health areas – less than 1% of the total investment in medical research was spent on hearing research in 2018

Hearing Test Statistics

  • UK are worst nation for looking after their hearing – 47% have never had a hearing test while the global average is 31%
  • An estimated 522,600 members (0.78%) of the UK population had a hearing test (2021/22)*
  • 1 in 7 (14%) of people with hearing loss have missed an appointment with their GP because they didn’t hear their name being called in the waiting room
  • People wait an average of 10 years before seeking treatment for hearing loss
  • When people do eventually seek help, GPs fail to refer 30-45% of those reporting hearing loss to NHS hearing services

* Research conducted by Hear4U.co.uk based on estimates across Hinckley & Bosworth and Nuneaton & Bedworth

Hearing Industry Statistics

  • There are only 4000 audiologists in the UK (3000 are working for the NHS and 1000 are working within the private sector)
  • The proportion of audiologists to members of public is 1 per 16,805 people
  • Every person with hearing loss is up against a further 2,749 other people to acquire hearing care
  • An NHS workforce project demonstrated that an additional 1700 audiologists were required to cope with current pressures but that this would take 10-15 years to achieve
  • NHS hearing services need protection from budget cuts – North Staffordshire CCG became first area in UK to stop providing hearing aids to people who need them in 2015
  • Six services (two in Wales, four in England) only provide people with one hearing aid even if they have hearing loss in both ears

Hearing Aid Statistics

  • An estimated 314,899 members (0.47%) of the UK population purchased a hearing aid (2021/22)*
  • Every hearing aid costs the NHS less than £100
  • Hearing aids are most effective when fitted early – people who wait until they have a severe hearing loss find it more difficult to adapt

* Research conducted by Hear4U.co.uk based on estimates across Hinckley & Bosworth and Nuneaton & Bedworth

Hearing Loss Information by Industry

  • More than 2 million people are exposed to unacceptable levels of noise at work
  • Noise-induced hearing loss is the second most common reason for employers’ liability insurance claims for occupational health
  • People working within the mining, construction and manufacturing sectors are most at risk for noise-induced hearing loss

Hearing Loss and Unemployment

  • 4.4 million people with hearing loss are of working age
  • Employment rate for those with hearing loss is 65% compared to 79% of people with no long-term health problem or disability
  • People with hearing loss are paid £2,000 less per year (£4 billion in lost income across the UK)
  • £25 billion of economic output is lost every year due to an increased use of health and social care services, unemployment, sick leave rates, and limited career progression because of hearing loss 

Ear Wax Removal Statistics

  • The global cerumen market is anticipated to be worth $3.7 billion by 2030
  • An estimated 2 million people (2.9% of the UK population) had an earwax removal procedure (2021/22)*
  • Earwax removal is the most common otolaryngologic procedure – around 4 million ears are irrigated every year in the UK
  • Impacted earwax is found in 10% of children, 20% of adults, 30% of seniors and people with learning disabilities

Tinnitus Statistics

  • 7.1 million people are living with tinnitus – 13.2% of the UK population
  • This figure is estimated to rise to 7.7 million in 2028
  • There are over 1.05 million tinnitus-related GP consultations in the UK every year


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