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HEARING WEEK: World Hearing Day Theme: Action for Hearing Loss - Make a Sound Investment

March 3, 2017

In line with the World Health Organisation global Hearing Day theme of ‘Action for Hearing Loss: Make a Sound Investment’ the Listen Hear! New Zealand report focuses on the social and economic costs of hearing loss in New Zealand.

According to the World Health Organisation, unaddressed hearing loss poses a high cost for the economy globally and has a significant impact on the lives of those affected. Interventions to address hearing loss are available and are cost-effective. 

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Prevention, screening for early identification, rehabilitation through hearing devices, captioning are among the strategies which can mitigate hearing loss and its consequences. World Hearing Day 2017 highlights actions which can be undertaken by decision-makers to address hearing loss. (1)

The annual cost of hearing loss globally is $750 billion and in New Zealand $4.9 billion. Inaction comes at a high cost and annually, unaddressed significant hearing loss results in: (2)

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As reported, there are now estimated to be over 880,000 people in New Zealand living with some type of hearing loss; which represents 18.9% of the population and the total cost of hearing loss, per annum, in 2016 as estimated by Deloittes Access Economics, Australia, to be $4.9 billion.

We urge New Zealand Government Ministries of Health and Education to take a serious look at the Listen Hear! New Zealand report available at www.nfd.org.nz Evidence shows that intervention and support for accommodation of hearing loss is the most cost-effective way to address its impact.

Simply put, we as a nation have the responsibility and duty to provide people with hearing loss the support they require to improve their lives and futures.

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[1]http://www.who.int/pbd/deafness/world-hearing-day/2017/en/

[2] WHO estimates 2016, cost in International dollars