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Today is World Hearing Day.

I marked this day by visiting Specsavers in Largs and speaking to Chris and Hazel about this condition, who kindly discussed the impact of hearing loss on their service users and how they were able to assist.

This day was established in 2007 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and was initially known as Ear Care Day. The initiative highlights the scale of hearing loss, especially in ageing populations around the globe.

Specsavers is the largest provider of community audiology services across the UK.

By 2035 there will be an estimated 14.6 million people in the UK with hearing loss. The single most common form of hearing loss is presbycusis, also known as age-related hearing loss because it becomes more common with age even though it can affect adults at any age.

Hearing loss is a significant but often unrecognised long- term condition. Many older people experience social isolation due to uncorrected hearing loss, impacting mental and physical health.

Many will need treatment to combat hearing loss in the future, including 4.4 million people in the workforce currently with hearing loss and a predicted 4.5 million people that could currently benefit from hearing aids.

Untreated hearing loss can lead to a range of social and economic issues for people, including social isolation, reduced access to work and education, a lower quality of life, and even a lower life expectancy.

On average, a person with hearing loss is £2,000 a year worse off than a person with no long- term health issues or disabilities. Recent estimates suggest that the UK economy loses £25 billion a year in lost productivity and unemployment due to hearing loss, equivalent to the production cost of 50 hospitals.

Treatment of age-related hearing loss reduces the rate of cognitive decline, reduces the impact of dementia, and delays the need for expensive social care.


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