Spending money on hearing care changes lives and saves society money
The Ear Foundation launched a European report, Spend2Save, in Brussels in September 2017, with the support of EURO-CIU, AEA, EHIMA and EFHOH. 52 million people across Europe have a significant hearing loss, and the number is growing, with a huge impact on the individual and on society. Hearing loss is the greatest cause of Years lived with Disability over the age of 70 and is linked with isolation, physical and mental health issues, depression and dementia, with increased use of health services.
Today’s communication and hearing technologies can change this. The report produced the evidence to show that the cost of NOT providing hearing care is GREATER than the cost of providing hearing care. Europe’s growing challenge of adult hearing loss aroused great interest from user groups across Europe and a summary leaflet to inform public and decision makers was developed. This first edition was translated into 13 languages, mainly by user groups with EURO-CIU support and used to influence decision making about the provision of hearing technologies across many countries. It’s proved a real tool for change in hearing care provision: a meeting of key stakeholders in Brussels summarised the main priority for action to be:
To raise awareness and build political commitment-We need to move the discussion about hearing loss:
From a minor health issue to major public health, disability access and social justice issue
From hearing loss to hearing well and living well
From audiology to public health
From hearing to better communication, cognition and independence
From the cost of taking action on hearing loss to the cost of not taking action on hearing loss: Spend to Save.
We need to see “hearing care” as an action to prevent the comorbidities of hearing loss
Users and families are key. “We need to convince users and potential users of hearing technology and ensure they have a story and public voice and they should use it… sensitisation and awareness”
“Policy changes only ever occur over long periods of time, and typically come from a bottom up initiative”.
“WHO and this (Spend2 Save) combined together is really important and we have a great opportunity.”With the World Health Organisation (WHO) resolution on hearing loss, urging all countries to develop action plans for hearing care (www.who.int.org/deafness) and there is growing activity and evidence about the importance of addressing hearing loss. The Spend2Save document has done much to stimulate interest globally, not only across Europe