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