On occasion of World Hearing Day 2019, MEP Igor Šoltes (Greens/EFA) hosted a Lunch Debate with experts in the European parliament, titled “Protect and Check your Hearing!”.
The main conclusion was: People hard of hearing that uses hearing aids are happier, healthier and wealthier with a better overall quality of life compared to those hard of hearing who’s hearing loss is untreated.
MEP Šoltes highlighted the “European Disability Strategy 2010-2020” which aims to improve the social inclusion and the wellbeing of people with disabilities and to enable them to fully exercise their rights. Shelly Chadha, responsible for the WHO programme for prevention of deafness and hearing loss, spoke about the importance of safe listening and early identification at all ages.
The new report “Hearing Loss – Numbers and Costs”, presented by Kim Ruberg from Hear-it, evaluates the economic and social costs of hearing loss to the EU. 34.4 million people in the EU live with a disabling hearing loss, 22.6 million of them are not treated with hearing aids. According to the report, untreated, disabling hearing loss costs 185 billion Euros in the EU each year.
Mark Laureyns from the European Association of Hearing Aid Professionals cleared up with myths on hearing protection, such as earplugs. Darja Pajk from the European Federation of the Hard of Hearing talked about her own experiences as a person with hearing loss.
The event was organised in cooperation with the European Hearing Triangle of the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA), the European Association of Hearing Aid Professionals (AEA), and the European Federation of Hard of Hearing People (EFHOH).