Listen up - new global insights into the experiences of hearing loss

GN News

Jan 30, 2024

Would you be surprised to know that 430 million people live with hearing loss worldwidebut only 1 in 5 people requiring hearing aids currently use them2?

Hearing loss can have a significant impact on many aspects of people's lives, affecting their communication, emotional well-being, relationships, and overall quality of life. This coupled, with the fact that hearing loss is predicted to affect 700 million people by 2050, suggests a different approach is needed1.

To explore this further, we conducted a survey on the diversity of experiences and perceptions of hearing loss. It focuses on those who are beginning to experience the early signs, those who have undiagnosed hearing loss, as well as the social and psychological effects hearing loss can have on family and friends. We asked 14,000 people across 7 countries about the impact of hearing loss, and this is what we found

Impact on work, social, and home life

78% of people with hearing loss have changed how they socialize to accommodate for changes to their hearing

Most people acknowledged that hearing loss alters how and where they socialize. Whether it’s picking quieter venues, asking for specific seating in a group setting, or simply avoiding noisy environments, these behaviors can contribute to someone with hearing loss experiencing loneliness and social isolation over time.

When video calling, nearly 1 in 4 people with hearing loss report finding it difficult to understand what people are saying if they don't have their camera switched on

In an era of virtual communication, video calls have become commonplace at work. This increase in video-calling and noisy co-working spaces may negatively impact the confidence of people with hearing loss and their ability to communicate with others effectively, which can be detrimental to their work life and career.

Over half of people with hearing loss frequently mishear what their partner says to them and nearly 1 in 3 couples do less things together due to a breakdown in communication   

When your hearing changes, it doesn't just affect you but can have a real impact on the people around you and your relationships with them. People with hearing loss report noticing their partners’ frustrations as they grew tired of the repeating and translating, having to yell to be heard, and experiencing resentment for unfulfilled needs. This isn’t rare, and over time contributes to the feeling of social isolation when wrestling with untreated hearing loss. The emotional toll of struggling to connect with loved ones through conversation stresses the need for increased awareness and support for couples navigating the hearing loss journey.

Perceptions of hearing loss and hearing aids

Our survey delved into the topic of perception and stigma around hearing loss and found that certain demographics are more concerned about hearing loss than others

  • People under the age of 50 who have not experienced hearing loss are more concerned about the prospect of losing their hearing than older people.
  • Married people are also more likely to be concerned about losing their hearing than single people as they may be worrying about how it will impact their relationship and ultimately cause frustration.

Fortunately, when deciding to use hearing aids or not, factors associated with a breakdown of relationships and a loss of independence outweigh stigma-related factors.

However, stigma still plays heavily on our minds

43% of people ranked appearance and visibility of hearing aids in the top three most important factors when considering adopting them. This way of thinking deters people for far too long, not realizing that using hearing aids could seriously improve their quality of life.

The link between hearing loss and wider health

Less than 2% of people are aware of all the broader health implications of hearing loss

Despite a reasonable level of awareness around the social impact of hearing loss (31%), there remains a surprising lack of awareness around the broader health implications of hearing loss, particularly its link with dementia. We also found that people who were concerned about experiencing hearing loss were significantly more likely to be aware of all the health implications of hearing loss than people who weren’t concerned.

This lack of awareness cements the urgent need for education on the overall impact of hearing loss and the importance of seeking timely intervention.

How to be proactive about your hearing health
GN provides a variety of helpful services to help you improve and maintain your hearing:

  • Take a free online hearing test at
  • Schedule a free in-person hearing screening at Beltone
  • Take a complimentary online hearing test at

[1] Deafness and hearing loss. World Health Organization. (February 2023)

[2] Hearing Aids. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. (October 2022)