There is an "urgent need" for hearing loss to be detected earlier as the number of people affected is set to soar, a report suggests.

An estimated ten million people suffer from hearing loss in the UK at present but by 2031 as many as 14.1 million people will struggle with hearing, according to a report from the think tank International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK).

The authors said more must be done to detect problems earlier. They also said ministers must publish an action plan on how the Government plans to address hearing loss.

Loading article content

"Since the 1990s there has been a steady rise in the number of people with hearing loss and this is only set to get worse - if we look into the future, there will be more older people and many of them will experience hearing loss," said Baroness Greengross, chief executive of the ILC-UK.

The news comes as it emerged one local health authority is considering whether to continue providing hearing aids for all patients on the NHS.

North Staffordshire ­Clinical Commissioning Group is consulting on whether to stop providing hearing aids for adults with mild to moderate age-related hearing loss.

Paul Breckell, chief ­executive of the charity Action on Hearing Loss, said the move would be "completely unacceptable".