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Facts and figures

Find out the latest facts and figures on deafness, hearing loss and tinnitus.

  • There are 12 million people with hearing loss across the UK, that’s around one in six of us.
  • By 2035, we estimate there’ll be around 14.2 million people with hearing loss across the UK.
  • There are 50,000 children with hearing loss in the UK. Around half are born with hearing loss while the other half lose their hearing during childhood.
  • An estimated 900,000 people in the UK have severe or profound hearing loss.
  • We estimate that there are at least 24,000 people across the UK who use British Sign Language (BSL) as their main language (although there are likely to be more that we don’t know about).
  • More than 40% of people over 50 years old have hearing loss, rising to 70% of people over the age of 70.
  • There are 7.1 million people in the UK living with tinnitus. 

Support and care

  • Hearing loss can lead to withdrawal from social situations, emotional distress, and depression. Research shows that it increases the risk of loneliness, but only for those who don’t wear hearing aids.     
  • Hearing loss can increase the risk of dementia by up to five times, but evidence also suggests that hearing aids may reduce these risks.
  • Many more people could benefit from hearing aids than are currently doing so – only around 40% of people who need hearing aids have them.
  • Evidence suggests that people wait on average 10 years before seeking help for their hearing loss and that when they do, GPs fail to refer 30–45% to NHS audiology services.

Technology and treatments

  • Hearing research is significantly underfunded. In 2018, less than 1% of the total public and charity investment in medical research was spent on hearing research. That adds up to just 83p spent for every person affected.


  • Our Hidden Disadvantage report found that 70% of people with hearing loss who responded to our survey said that hearing loss sometimes prevented them from fulfilling their potential at work.
  • Our Working for Change report found that 35% of business leaders surveyed in our YouGov poll don’t feel confident about employing a person with hearing loss.
  • Nine out of ten respondents to our Speak Easy survey said background noise was the biggest problem they face when eating out.
  • Our Progress on Pause report found that 87% people with hearing loss have started to watch a programme on-demand and found that it had no subtitles.