WHO’s warning on Tuesday incited a wave of concern – one in four people will encounter hearing problems by 2050. The costs of prevention and treatment rise to $1.33 per person per year.
The report insists that most common problems, such as congenital disabilities, noise exposure, infections, etc., could be prevented with the aforementioned cost.
On the other side, not addressing these issues correctly means a breach of finances of nearly a trillion US dollars lost every year. According to the report:
“Failure to act will be costly in terms of the health and well-being of those affected, and the financial losses arising from their exclusion from communication, education, and employment.”
Nowadays, one in five people already encounters hearing issues, but the number will become considerably higher in 2050 if nothing changes.
“The number of people with hearing loss may increase more than 1.5-fold during the next three decades” to 2.5 billion people — up from 1.6 billion in 2019.
The gloomy figures say that due to demographic rise and population’s habits, it is expected that in 2050, in a population of 2,5 billion, 700 would manifest a need for specialized hearing treatment
One of the issues addressing the hearing problems is a costly treatment and even a lack of professionals in low-income countries. The hardships in accessing much-needed medical care make the problem worsen or persist over time.
Unfortunately, almost 80% of people with endangered hearing live in countries where they can’t get enough medical attention. However, the report outlines that access is also tricky in the richer countries, so the root of the problem is not economy-based.
“Even among health-care providers, knowledge relevant to the prevention, early identification, and management of hearing loss and ear diseases are commonly lacking,” the report states.
What Measures Flip the Situation
A set of precautionary measures was publicly proposed, and some of them consist of minimizing noise in public places and vaccinate a larger population for an illness called meningitis that can lead to hearing loss.
The report also suggested that screening at varied ages can spot the problem earlier, which would be a partial success. For example, hearing issues could be blocked in 60% of cases for children.
“An estimated one trillion US dollars are lost each year due to our collective failure to adequately address hearing loss.”
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also stated in the report:
“While the financial burden is enormous, what cannot be quantified is the distress caused by the loss of communication, education and social interaction that accompanies unaddressed hearing loss.”