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Nov 9, 2010

Hearing Loss Figures Across Europe


Recent research figures have found that around 55 million or approximately, sixteen percent of adult Europeans suffer from hearing loss significant enough to cause a negative affect in their daily life. The study also shows that about 71 million adults aged 18 to 80 years have a hearing loss greater than 25 dB, indicative of having sustained hearing damage, yet, only one in six use hearing aids.

In the UK 19 per cent of men and 13 per cent of women above 16 years of age report that they suffer from hearing loss. In France thsi reduces to just 7 percent suffer, whilst the frequency in Germany may be as high as one in five.

Some or varying degrees of hearing loss in other EU countries :

  • Italy – one in six
  • Denmark and Sweden – one in ten
  • Finland – one in seven
  • France where just 7 percent suffer from hearing loss.

An example of numbers of people with hearing impairment in any given region or area in Europe and other industrialised nations:

  • Germany:                                 10.2 m
  • France:                         7.6 m
  • United Kingdom:             7.5 m
  • Italy:                                     7.2 m
  • Spain:                                     5.5 m
  • Poland:                         4.7 m
  • The Netherlands:                   2 m

Although hearing loss is usually and mistakenly associated as part of the aging process, it can in fact can happen at any age. Men in particular are vulnerable with findings which show that 13 per cent of men age 20 and 69 suffer from noise-induced hearing loss.

Continuous, unprotected exposure to an excessive noise level above 85 decibels, for example, in the workplace or on a building site will lead to the permanent hearing loss known as  industrial deafness.

For unprotected ears, the allowed exposure time decreases by one half for each 5 decibels increase in the average noise level.

Exposure limit per Day / Decibels

  • Eight hours                           90
  • Four hours                           95
  • Two hours                          100

Some computer games exceed 110 decibels although the highest permissible noise exposure for the unprotected ear is 115 decibels for 15 minutes per day and a level above 140 can cause an immediate temporary deafness leading to possible permanant hearing damage.

Other recent studies show that around one fifth of 12- to 19-year-olds have a notable hearing loss and a further 1 in 5 is showing signs that they are on the route to having hearing loss – a 5% jump in hearing loss among adolescents in the past 15 years. Studies show causes are attributed to increased, widespread use of loud computer games and  MP3 players, etc.