One in six Australians is affected by hearing loss – that’s an estimated 3.5 million people.
Hearing loss in Australia is mainly mild in nature, but one-third of people experience a loss that is moderate or severe to profound.
The prevalence of hearing loss rises from 1% for people aged younger than 15 years to three in every four people aged over 70 years.
The number of Australians who are hearing impaired or deaf is increasing because of long-term exposure to excessive noise in the workplace, the environment and a result of an aging population. Hearing loss is projected to increase to 1 in every 4 Australians by 2050.
Hearing Awareness Week (February 25 to March 3) aims to highlight the issues faced by people with hearing loss as the organisers, the Deafness Forum of Australia, continue to campaign for greater recognition for the issue.
Much needs to be done to address the level of un-managed hearing loss in the community. There are many people in our aged care facilities who have not been diagnosed and sometimes their hearing loss is confused with dementia.
Indigenous hearing health is a massive public health problem in remote parts of Australia.
One of the main consequences of hearing loss is a reduced capacity to communicate.
This can have a big impact on a person’s life chances through the reduced opportunity to get a good education, to gain competitive skills and employment. It can also put quite a strain on relationships.
Hearing Awareness Week will see a range of promotional activities happening across the country, including ‘silent’ sports events, public exhibitions on hearing technologies, and hearing safety training by employers to alert people to the issues.