An editorial in the Lancet is calling for more research into deafness.
Funding for deafness in the UK is around only one thousandth of the estimated lost productivity from hearing impairment, which is around 13.5 billion pounds.
The Editorial states that a reason why there is so little research is because the onset of it is gradual.
"Because hearing loss is commonly of gradual onset, more prevalent with age, often results in stigma, and makes people prone to isolation, estimates of burden are difficult to obtain and usually conservative. Results from a recently published UK study showed that 12% of adults aged 55-74 years had substantially impaired hearing, which on average had been present for a decade. Yet only 3% used a hearing aid, suggesting widespread unmet need," The Lancet quoted the editorial, as stating.
It continued: "Hearing aids can help relieve symptoms, but further interventions are needed to prevent, delay, or reverse hearing damage...Although the many determinants of hearing make research complex, successful strategies would have not only a large and lucrative market, but also great social value."
According to WHO estimates, 278 million people worldwide have a disabling hearing impairment. This could increase to 700 million by 2015 and 900 million by 2025.
Though presbycusis, the most prevalent form of hearing-loss, is age-related, hearing impairment is not confined to old age.