BIHIMA is delighted to share an encouraging update on the Spend2Save campaign – an initiative organised by the UK charity, the Ear Foundation, which highlights the real cost of hearing loss and the fact that it costs more not to address the consequences of hearing loss than to provide access to good quality hearing care.

The campaign was launched in September 2016 in collaboration with our European counterpart EHIMA, along with AEA, EFHOH and EURO-CIU. These parties came together at the end of 2017 to share progress.

There was unanimous agreement about the importance of working in an ongoing European collaboration, in order to build political commitment to approach hearing loss as a major public health issue, one that is directly linked with disability access and social justice.

Various action points also resulted from the meeting, including the creation of a clear communication plan and web presence for the Spend2Save campaign (coming soon), as well as the aim to seek greater media engagement with the message about the cost of hearing loss to society. There was also a call for improved data and research and for this to be disseminated in easily understandable forms.

Other areas of potential work included developing national actions plans on hearing loss. The UK Action Plan on Hearing Loss (which BIHIMA has widely promoted here) was cited as an example of how hearing loss can be seen as a public health and social policy issue for governments and service-funders. It was agreed that an Action Plan template would be developed for other countries to adapt for their local needs.

There is also potential for a European-wide campaign for Adult Screening programmes – which was another of BIHIMA’s campaigns last year – as well campaigning for greater funded entitlements of the provision of Quality Hearing Care, access to long-term services, assistive devices and other technologies.

Finally, BIHIMA warmly welcomes the Spend2Save group’s call for more research into the link between hearing loss and dementia, following last year’s impactful Lancet report – another key area of work for BIHIMA which we will be focussing at a round table planned for the second half of this year.

Ten translations of the executive summary have now been shared; the UK version can be accessed here.