The right strategy and action plan of awareness raising of Hearing Loss disability at EU and national level during this parliamentary mandate is instrumental.
I would like to stress how COVID-19 tremendously affected the lives of persons with disabilities and especially, what impact it has on people with hearing loss. Persons with hearing loss often face the lack of quality communication support, insufficient inflow of timely information, reduced ability to acquire knowledge, skills and abilities as well as with the problem of limited communication ability. This time of confinement has proved that the role of Sign Language interpreters is crucial, since many people with hearing loss live alone and isolated, and they need these professionals in order to live their basic lives.
We should stress the importance of early detection together with early intervention for children that would lead to better access to education for hearing impaired children with a reduced burden on the education system itself and a better quality of life for the child and the family.
Various studies have shown that disabling hearing loss increases the risk of social isolation, cognitive decline and dementia. Other studies have shown that untreated hearing loss can cause loneliness and can also lead to excess production of cortisol which can increase blood pressure and blood sugar levels and can also disrupt the body’s immune system therefore possibly leading to other serious health issues.
We are spending a lot of money on improving quality of life for people with dementia or diabetes; why not to invest in trying to reduce factors that can lead to this condition, hearing loss being one of them? Early intervention plays significant role in the prevention of the onset of other costly diseases.
MEP Alex Agius Saliba, appointed as Chairman of the Hearing Health Forum EU, was chairing his first meeting with four key stakeholders (European patient organisation, scientific/medical and industry).