Hearing Prevalence

Hearing Impairment in Australia

In 2005, it was estimated that 3.55 million Australians (Figures 2 & 3) have hearing impairment. By 2010 there will be 4.02 million Australians with hearing impairment (worse ear).

Hearing impairment in children:

·         1-2 children/1000 have a permanent hearing impairment

·         Over 500 Australian children are born annually with either moderate to profound hearing impairment

·         Overall, an estimated 10,250 Australian children aged 0-14 years have hearing impairment

·         Hearing impairment is 3 times higher among Indigenous children than non-Indigenous children.

Hearing impairment in adults:

·         1 in 6 Australians is affected by hearing impairment

·         Men have a higher incidence of hearing impairment than women

·         The most common causes of hearing impairment/loss in adults are ageing and excessive exposure to loud sounds

·         Over 50% of the population aged between 60 and 70 years have hearing impairment.


Figure 2. Prevalence of hearing impairment by age group

Source: Access Economics, 2006














Figure 3. Projected prevalence of hearing impairment in Australia to 2050

Source: Access Economics, 2006



·         In 2005, there were 278 million people in the world with disabling hearing impairment (a further 364 million people are estimated to have a mild hearing impairment)

·         Two thirds of the burden of hearing impairment is in developing countries.


·         1 in every 6 Australian adults have hearing impairment (1 in every 4 men)

·         More than 500 babies are born with a hearing impairment in Australia each year

·         There are over 16,000 hearing impaired children and individuals under the age of 21 years

·         Approximately 1 in 2 hearing impaired adolescents experience some kind of mental health problem while at school


Employment opportunities for the hearing impaired people are significantly less than for people with normal hearing