Hearing loss affects all aspects of life. If you factor in what untreated hearing loss does to employment, you have a situation that is extremely expensive to society, both globally and nationally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it amounts to a loss of approximately 750 billion dollars a year.
This economic insight resulted in the theme of this year’s World Hearing Day: ‘Make a sound investment’, where the aim was to raise awareness in the political field and get politicians and decision-makers across borders to take hearing loss far more seriously.
Research studies back up WHO’s calculations, and in 2016 the British Ear Foundation published a report considering hearing loss from a European perspective.
Even though hearing loss has a huge impact on both education, work, health and well-being, it is still one of the most overlooked health problems
in Europe. An extremely costly problem, though.
According to WHO, around 16% of adult Europeans
experience hearing loss severe enough to have a negative impact on their daily lives.
AWARENESS IN THE POLITICAL FIELD
Importantly, people who are aware of their hearing loss can take better control of their health
and learn how they can live their lives in a way that is not only healthier but also smarter. Therefore, a lunch debate in the European Parliament entitled “Action for hearing loss: Make a sound investment” was established.
WIDEX WORLD HEARING DAY EXPERIMENT
Widex put hearing loss on the political agenda
By equipping three Danish MEPs with customized ear moulds to imitate a moderate hearing loss, they were sent to work as hearing impaired for a couple of hours. Mid-afternoon they were given a hearing aid from each manufacturer to experience how a hearing aid could make a difference in their work lives
Check out their reactions here
WORK AS YOU DID BEFORE
Hearing loss is not an obstacle for the labour market. Or at least it shouldn’t be. At Widex we go to work every day to make this kind of sound investment to help people with hearing loss work as they did before
In recent years, the field of Audiology has recognized that the nature of the hearing aid processed sounds could affect the amount of listening effort that the listeners invest into understanding, and that the cognitive capacity of the individuals could affect the outcome of their effort.
Thus, we argue that if we design the hearing aids with output that requires the least amount of effort from the listeners to understand, then such hearing aids will result in satisfaction for more people, regardless of their cognitive backgrounds.
This we call the “Effortless Hearing”
design rationale, and at Widex we have followed it since the UNIQUE range
(and continuing into the BEYOND range
). It allows us:
- To be generous in capturing the full range of sounds in the listeners’ environment
- To be accurate in purging the sounds that the listeners may not need
- To be innovative in processing the sounds that the listeners want.