Hearing Loss in Australia

The report Still Waiting To Be Heard that sprung from the 2010 Australian Federal Government Senate Inquiry into Hearing Health in Australia – Hear Us, states that in 2010, 3.6 Million Australians suffered from some form of hearing loss. Factors that are impacting this growth are described as our aging population, noise-induced hearing loss (either recreational or work-related), occupational-induced hearing loss (which can include a combination of noise and exposure to certain chemicals, e.g. solvents) and behaviours in younger people that are likely to escalate their hearing loss later in life.

Hearing problems hurt more than just individuals afflicted, it flows on to their families and friends.  There is also a large effect on the Australian economy, with research showing that hearing loss costs the nation $33.3 billion every year. That’s $15 billion in real money and $17 billion in lost wellbeing for individuals.

Age Group Hearing Loss as a Proportion of all People in Each Age Group
15 to 50 years 5%
51 to 60 years 29%
61 to 70 years 58%
71 years and older 74%

Living with Hearing Loss

Hearing and quality of life are closely linked. Poor hearing affects both the person with hearing loss, and those they communicate with. Effects of untreated and unaided hearing loss on adults impacts on social, emotional, psychological and physical well-being.

Typically people with hearing impairment can experience:

  • Embarrassment
  • Loss of confidence
  • Irritability and anger
  • Depression
  • Feelings of being ignored
  • Dependence on others
  • Withdrawal, isolation and loneliness
  • Exclusion from family and social activities
  • Tiredness

Other people, such as family members and close friends, may find themselves:

  • Talking for the other person
  • Continually having to explain or interpret
  • Sacrificing some activities (eg. theatre, parties)
  • Making assumptions about what hard of hearing person thinks or needs
  • Frustrated
  • Embarrassed in company
  • Tired

All of which can contribute to strains on relationships

Brad & Kya
Hearing Assistance Dog, Kya, is a source of safety and joy

Hearing Aid Devices & Hearing Assistance Dogs

The technology embedded in hearing aids and cochlear implants is consistently evolving and is significantly enhancing the quality of lives for many Australians. They do not however work for everyone living with hearing loss and people don’t wear their devices all the time, for example, removing a hearing aid when going to bed. Whether as a stand-alone or complementary assistance to hearing aid devices, our Hearing Assistance Dogs provide help in day-to-day living, as well as provide an added level of assurance and emotional connectedness in peoples’ lives.

The use of hearing aid devices and Hearing Assistance Dogs are providing significant quality of life improvements, in particular:

  • Improved interpersonal relationships
  • Improved mental and physical health
  • Extended social activity and community interaction
  • Reduction in discrimination against the person with the hearing loss
  • Reduction in anger and frustration
  • Greater earning power and opportunities for employment (especially for those with severe hearing loss)
  • A lower incidence of depression
  • Improved safety and security