Australia has a long history of addressing hearing healthcare, with pioneering projects and research. SBS reports that the Hearing Care Industry Association (HCIA) of Australia has commissioned an evidence-based report, developed by Deloitte Access Economics, on the social and economic cost of hearing loss in the country: Social and Economic Cost of Hearing Health in Australia – June 2017. It estimates that around 3.6 million Australians are currently affected by hearing loss. This represents an economic cost of AUD 15.9 billion as a result of premature retirement and decreased productivity.
By 2060, it is estimated that as many as one in five Australians (over 7 million people), will be living with a hearing issue. The highest risk group is reported to be those aged 12 to 35. Another estimate is that up to 50% of young Australians may develop hearing loss after five years of exposure to loud music.
“The significant increase in the prevalence of hearing loss shown in this report raises challenges for the hearing care industry on how we can best support and mitigate the impact on the Australian population,” says HCIA’s chairman, Mr Ashley Wilson. According to the article, HCIA also recommends that Australia’s hearing aid voucher programme be extended to people in low-income groups, including younger and older Australians.