Hearing Loss and Mental Health must be part of a priority for the EU!

On 19 April 2024 , the European Federation of Hard of Hearing People( EFHOH) held a ground-breaking conference on Navigating Mental Health and Hearing Loss took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The conference was organised together with our Slovenia member, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clubs Association of Slovenia (ZDGNS).

Hearing loss and mental health are linked closely and require attention and action from all stakeholders.

Speakers included representatives of EFHOH- Lidia Best and Darja Pajk, IFHOH- Ruth Warick, AEA- Mark Laureyns, EU Commision – Monika Chaba, Mobile&Wireless Forum- Sabine Lobnig, Medel – Patrick D’Haese , Maria Skoczynska and Leonie von Berlin ( Youth researchers) and more. With varried presentations, all have collectively tackled a question “What is needed to ensure inclusion of Hard of Hearing people?” and “What is impact of hearing loss and lack of inclusion on Hard of Hearing persons mental health?

Hearing loss can have a profound impact on a person’s quality of life, social interactions, education, employment, and mental health. The challenge for us is to reach out and support them at different stages of their experience whatever it is rehabilitation, access to hearing health services, mental heath services and continuing living their lives to full potential.

71 million people in Europe experience hearing loss to different degree, and it is time to see hearing loss and mental health being on the list of EU Health Strategy 2024- 2029.

The conference ended with the call to action, initiated by the European Federation of Hard of Hearing:  ’Changing Mindsets  On Hearing Loss and Mental Health’ was signed by EFHOH, IFHOH and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clubs Association of Slovenia.