Over 7 million Australians are likely to suffer hearing loss by 2060, a sharp increase from the 3.6 million figure in 2017.
The staggering findings were published in the 2017 ‘Social and Economic Cost of Hearing Loss’ report, commissioned by the Hearing Care Industry Association from Deloitte Access Economics.
The report estimated the financial cost of hearing loss at $15.9 billion, including health system costs of $881.5 million and productivity losses of $12.8 billion.
It also highlighted that a total of 49 per cent of childhood hearing loss and 37 per cent of adult hearing loss can be prevented.
ACT Deafness Resource Centre CEO Glenn Vermeulen says it takes the average Australian 10 years to do something about their hearing loss once they have realised it or someone has pointed out that they are affected by it.
“In the past five years, I have seen an increase in the awareness of hearing loss. People have started identifying that they have hearing loss and are willing to take action and do something about it,” Mr Vermeulen said.
“We highly recommend people take action immediately once they realise that they have been affected by hearing loss. The sooner it is diagnosed, and a plan of action to mitigate it is in place, the better it is for the individual,” he said.
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Mr Vermeulen said anyone experiencing hearing loss should visit the ACT Deafness Resource Centre and get information about what they can do and how they can manage it.
“We are here to support people in their hearing loss journey. Once someone approaches us, we ask them questions and try to understand their situation so that we can advise them about what we think can help the individual,” he added.
The Deafness Resource Centre offers a drop-in service where people can turn up at their office without a prior appointment for a one-on-one consultation so the individual can understand the difficulties in hearing the individual may be facing.
“After the consultation, we are able to provide them with relevant information and can even discuss a hearing loss management program with them,” Mr Vermeulen said.
The ACT Deafness Resource Centre was established in 1985 and is a community organisation funded by the Commonwealth to provide information, linkages and capacity building for the hearing impaired, deaf and those with chronic ear disorders.
The centre provides support to the community in the ACT and surrounding NSW regions as well.
They provide referrals, information on hearing loss (be it a mild or an extreme case), hearing aids and information about what people can expect before going for their first audiology appointment. They also provide workplace assessments, presentations, community education and advocacy.
The centre also runs the John James Foundation Hearing Aiders Program, which visits Canberra nursing homes every month to ensure hearing aids are working properly.
For more information, visit ACT Deafness Resource Centre.