Is Australia Listening? - Australian Hearing

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Is Australia Listening? - Australian Hearing

Is Australia

Listening?

attitudes to hearing loss


Australian Hearing’s Health Report 2008

Foreword 3

Snapshot of Results 4

What causes hearing loss? 6

Our exposure to loud noise 7

Experiences of tinnitus 13

Protecting our ears 14

Perceptions of our own hearing 15

Getting our hearing checked 16

Attitudes to hearing aids 17

Living with hearing loss 19

Who is affected by hearing loss? 21

Looking ahead 22

About Australian Hearing 24

Foreword

Hearing loss is predicted to affect one in

four Australians by 2050 and currently costs

the economy in excess of $11.75bn per

annum. 1 Because of this growing problem,

we recognised a need to assess Australia’s

attitudes to noise and hearing loss.

Noise is becoming an increasingly popular

topic, as society starts to see the impact of

noisy lifestyles on physical and mental health.

So, what noise do we expose ourselves to? Are

we aware of the damage we may be causing

to our hearing? And if so, how (if at all) do we

modify our behaviour?

In addition to the general public’s interest

in damage to their future hearing caused

by today’s activities, the problem of hearing

loss is already very real among our ageing

population. Over 60 per cent of people in their

60s suffer from hearing loss and many would

benefit from hearing aids. While hearing aids

are becoming more widely accepted, there are

still misconceptions and negative stereotypes

attached to these devices, despite the benefits

they provide from ever evolving technology.

As baby boomers move into their 60s,

Australian Hearing is trying to educate people

about hearing loss and demonstrate how

today’s technology can provide excellent

outcomes for people who can’t hear well. We

also want young people to be aware of the

damage that overexposure to loud noise can

cause later in life.

This report represents our first survey into

Australian’s perceptions and behaviours

regarding healthy hearing.

About the survey

One thousand Australian adults were

interviewed via an online survey where they

were asked various questions relating to their

perceptions of hearing loss, hearing aids and

their exposure to potentially harmful noise

levels. The study was conducted by Quantum

Market Research on behalf of Australian

Hearing, the country’s largest hearing

service provider.

Participants were surveyed for 10 minutes

online. The sampled included males and

females from all adult age groups, all states

including both metropolitan and regional areas

and all socioeconomic groups.

1

Access Economics: Listen Hear! The economic impact and cost of hearing loss in Australia, February 2006


As baby boomers move into their 60s, Australian Hearing is

trying to educate people about hearing loss and demonstrate

how today’s technology can provide excellent outcomes for


people who can’t hear well.

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Snapshot

of Results

• Most Australians think that loud noise

is the major cause of hearing loss.

Listening to loud music through

headphones is thought to be more

detrimental to hearing than other sources

of leisure noise.

• Despite this, more than two thirds of

respondents said they listen to music

through headphones regularly and 60 per

cent of these people often have the volume

above safe levels.

• Nearly half of younger Australians (18 –

34 year olds) said they go to noisy bars

and pubs and listen to music through

headphones at least once a week.

• One quarter of younger Australians (18 –

24 year olds) don’t realise that once your

hearing is damaged, it cannot be restored.

• Just over half the population actively

protect their hearing by avoiding noisy

places, limiting length of exposure to loud

noise or limiting the volume of music

played through headphones.

• Forty-one per cent of people believed their

hearing was ‘very good’ or ‘almost perfect’

while one quarter believed their hearing was

below average.

• About three quarters of older Australians

(55 plus) have had their hearing checked,

and more than one third of these people


have done so in the past year.

Sixty per cent of

Australians reported

suffering from noticeable

tinnitus, with prevalence

higher among younger

Australians (18 – 34

year olds).


• Younger Australians (44 years old and

younger) associated hearing loss and

hearing aids with negative words, like

“old”, “ugly” and “deaf”. Older Australians

chose softer words and 73 per cent of

those aged over 65 were willing to consider

wearing a hearing aid.

• Four in five Australians reportedly know

someone with a hearing impairment.

• The group identified as most likely to have

a hearing loss was the elderly, however

the next most likely group identified

was teenagers.

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What causes

Hearing Loss?

Our Exposure to

Loud Noise

Most Australians believe industrial machinery

and loud music are the major causes of hearing

loss. Seventy-one per cent of Australians

believe that listening to loud music through

headphones will have the greatest negative

impact on a person’s hearing compared to

listening to music in other ways.

Causes of hearing loss

What do you think are the major causes of hearing loss?

Working with industrial machinery

Exposure to loud music

Exposure to everyday noise

Poor ear hygiene

Old age/degeneration

Genetics/genes/born deaf

Other

Greatest impact on a person’s hearing

% of Respondents (n=1,000)

80

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

0

Listening to

loud music

through

headphones or

in your ear

6

5

7

22

Two in five Australians think that everyday

noise causes hearing loss. In reality, exposure

to low and moderate everyday noise does not

cause hearing loss. However, damage due

to noise exposure is cumulative. This means

the higher the noise level and the longer the

exposure, the greater the damage.

45

0 20 40 60 80 100

Listening to

loud music in

an enclosed

space (eg car or

small room)

% of Respondents (n=1,000)

Which do you think has the greatest negative impact on a person’s hearing?

71

16

7

Listening to

loud music in a

large space (eg

hall, theatre or

music venue)

Listening to

loud music in

an open space

(eg park or

garden or open

air concert)

74

81

3 4

Not sure

Exposure to loud music

The most significant single cause of hearing

loss in Australia is exposure to loud sounds.

There is evidence of damage due to noise

in the measured hearing thresholds of 37

per cent of Australians 15 years and older.

Although most Australians appreciate that loud

sounds could damage their hearing, one in five

still frequently attend loud venues or listen to

music through headphones.

Of those 71 per cent of Australians who do use

headphones or headsets to listen to music, 96

per cent do so for less than three hours a day

on average. Alarmingly, almost two in three (60

per cent) of those who listen to music through

headphones sometimes have the volume so

loud that people usually have to shout to be

heard, indicating that it’s too loud and could

be causing damage.

If you need to raise your voice or shout to be

heard in background noise, then the noise is

too loud.

In terms of frequency, one in five Australian

adults claim that they are exposed to

unbearably loud noise at least once a week.

Most Australians (7 in 10) go to noisy

venues like bars and listen to music through

headphones, but not surprisingly, younger

Australians are more likely to do so. Nearly half

of 18 to 34 year old Australians go to noisy

bars and pubs and/or listen to music through

headphones at least once a week.

Encouragingly, nearly half of the population

stated that they would only be exposed to

unbearably loud noise once or twice a year at

most. However, the definition of “unbearable”

is subjective to each respondent.


Generally speaking, the majority of

Australians appreciate that loud noise

has the potential to lead to hearing

damage. Nearly half of Australians

(47 per cent) thought that there would

be a major impact on hearing in the


long term when exposed to loud noise.

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Awareness of the

consequences of noise

While four in five Australian adults are aware

that once damaged or impaired, hearing cannot

be restored to its original state, 26 per cent

of young Australians (18 to 24 year olds)

don’t know this. This awareness grows, with

age; while 67 per cent of 18 to 24 year old

Australians were aware of this, 87 per cent of

65 plus year olds knew this fact.

However, a significant proportion (15 per cent)

of younger Australians (18 to 24 year olds)

claim they don’t consider that loud noise may

be damaging their hearing. With age comes

the acknowledgement that loud noise may

have a negative impact on hearing. Only one in

four Australians aged below 45 thought there

would be a major impact on their hearing from

exposure to loud noise, compared to 40 per

cent of those above the age of 45.

When asked whether noise damages hearing in the

short, medium or long term, Australians are more likely

to associate loud noise with short term or long term

damage. Fewer Australians felt that there was medium


term damage through exposure to loud noise.

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A closer look...

One in four Australians believe that loud noise

will have a major impact on a person’s hearing

in the short term. However, 18 to 24 year old

Australians were least likely to identify the link

between loud noise and short term hearing

damage. Younger Australians consistently

‘downplayed’ the impact of loud noise on

hearing, whether it be in the short, medium

or long term.

Overall, the most glaring results in this

research are the awareness, perceptions and

behaviours of young Australians in relation to

healthy hearing. The severity and permanency

of the impact of loud music and venues to their

hearing has not yet been accepted by this

age group.

Frequency of using headphones or headsets

How often do you listen to music or other recordings through headphones or headsets directly in your ears?

% of Respondents (n=1,000)

30

25

20

15

10

5

20

8 8

7

6

5

4

13

29

Frequency of exposure to noise

How often are you exposed to noise that becomes unbearable?

0

More than

once

a week

Once a

week

Every 2-3

weeks

Once a

month

Every 2-3

months

Every 4-6

months

Once or

twice a

year

Less than

once a

year

Never

% of Respondents (n=1,000)

25

20

15

10

5

0

25

12

More than

once

a week

10 10 10

Once a

week

Every 2-3

weeks

Once a

month

8

Every 2-3

months

Frequency of attending noisy pubs and bars

7

Every 4-6

months

24

Once or

twice a

year

24

14

Less than

once a

year

How often do you frequent noisy places (bars or pubs, clubs, rock concerts) where you have to shout

to be heard over the music being played?

8

Never

Time spent listening through headphones or headsets

On a typical day, for how long would you listen through headphones or headsets?

% of Respondents (n=411)

60

50

40

30

20

10

0

58

Less than an hour Between 1-3 hours More than 3 hours

More than 5 hours

and up to 5 hours

Volume of headphones/headsets

38

When listening through headphones or headsets, would someone need to shout in order for you to hear them?

2

2

% of Respondents (n=1,000)

20

15

10

5

0

5

More than

once

a week

7

Once a

week

9

Every 2-3

weeks

8

Once a

month

10 10

Every 2-3

months

Every 4-6

months

Once or

twice a

year

17

Less than

once a

year

9

Never

% of Respondents (n=411)

50

40

30

20

10

0

12

Yes, all the time Yes, sometimes No, never

48

40

10

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Volume of headphones/headsets

When you are exposed to loud noise, do you consider that you may be damaging your hearing?

% of Respondents

% of Respondents (n=1,000)

100

80

60

40

20

0

50

40

30

20

10

0

27

4 1 2

5

3 2

15 9

45

39

18-24

(n=84)

13

Yes, definitely

47

42

25-34

(n=184)

39

47

45 47

Perceived impact of loud noise

44

35-44

(n=182)

43 45 32

54 51

45-54

(n=183)

Possibly No Not sure

28 27

35

55-64

(n=185)

To a major extent To a moderate extent To a mild extent Not at all Not sure

Short-term damage Medium-term damage Long-term damage

18

3

4

2

4 4

7

60

65+

(n=182)

To what extent do you think exposure to loud noise affects a person’s hearing in the short, medium and long term?

Perceived impact of loud noise

Are you aware that once damaged or impaired your hearing cannot be restored to its original state?

% of Respondents

100

80

60

40

20

0

7 8 7 8

26

67

18-24

(n=84)

Yes

16

76

25-34

(n=184)

No

10 7

83

35-44

(n=182)

Not sure

45-54

(n=183)

11

6

85 82

55-64

(n=185)

5

7

6

87

65+

(n=182)

Experience of

Tinnitus

Tinnitus can be described as a symptom

resulting from a range of causes, including

exposure to excessive noise.

This research asked if respondents had ever

experienced tinnitus, often referred to as a

ringing in the ears. Almost two in three (60 per

cent) Australians have suffered from noticeable

tinnitus and, alarmingly, this was more

prevalent in younger Australians (18 to 34

years old). Seventy per cent of 18 to 34 years

olds have experienced tinnitus compared to 50

per cent of those above 55. This may reflect a

lifestyle aspect, with younger Australians more

likely to attend bars, pubs and listen to music

through headphones.

Tinnitus actually occurs in 100 per cent of

people and is a natural phenomenon. The

classic research studies on tinnitus asks young

people with perfect hearing to enter a sound

proof booth and write on a piece of paper what

they hear. They describe what is commonly

known of as tinnitus, that is a ringing or

buzzing sound. These are people who said they

did not have ‘tinnitus’.

In our research, one in four of those who report

that they experience tinnitus, say they have a

ringing in their ears at least once a week, while

nearly two in five Australians said they would

experience tinnitus no more than twice a year.

One third of tinnitus sufferers aged 55 plus

experienced ringing in their ears more than

once a week. Typically, tinnitus lasts for less

than an hour for most sufferers (54 per cent),

but for some it can last more than 24 hours

(10 per cent).

Ringing ears after exposure to loud noise

means that the noise level was loud enough to

have caused damage.

Although younger Australians were more likely

to experience tinnitus, as we look at the data

by age, older Australians were more likely to

suffer 100 from it more frequently. Sixty-seven per

cent of those aged 31 above 55 years 28 report that

they suffer 80 from tinnitus more than once a

week, compared to only 16 per cent of 18 to

34 year 60olds. And of those who have suffered

from tinnitus, about half (54 per cent) claim

40

that it lasts less 69 than an hour, 72 whilst one in

64

10 report that their tinnitus usually lasts more

20

than a day.

% of Respondents

Hearing 0loss is sometimes accompanied

18-24

25-34

by tinnitus. It may (n=84) come and (n=184) go and can

be aggravated by other loud continuous or

impulsive noise. Yes It can be triggered No by loud

noise and may be an indication of ear damage.

Experience of tinnitus

80

20

60

40

10

20

05

36 40 51

35-44

(n=182)

60

45-54

(n=183)

Have you ever experienced ringing in the ears (called ‘tinnitus’)?

100

% of Respondents % (n=1,000) of Respondents

15

0

31 28

20

69

18-24

(n=84)

Yes

More than

once

a week

72

25-34

(n=184)

Once a

week

36

64

10

35-44

(n=182)

No

Every 2-3

weeks

Frequency of experiencing tinnitus

5

40

60

45-54

(n=183)

Once a

month

How often would you experience ringing in the ears?

% of Respondents (n=602)

20

15

10

5

0

20

More than

once

a week

5

Once a

week

10

Every 2-3

weeks

8

Once a

month

10

Every 2-3

months

8

8

Every 4-6

months

48

10

52

55-64

(n=185)

Every 2-3

months

20

Once or

twice a

year

51

49

8

65+

(n=182)

Every 4-6

months

18

Less than

once a

year

49

55-64

(n=185)

20

Once or

twice a

year

5

6

(n=

L

12

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Protecting our Ears

Perceptions

of our own hearing

Ear protection and limited exposure to

loud noise are the best methods of hearing

protection. It is encouraging to see these

preventative behaviours being employed by

many Australians. However, many of these

preventative behaviours are likely to be social

preferences based on age rather than conscious

decisions to protect one’s hearing.

The most common methods Australians use

to protect their hearing are avoiding places

with loud noise (57 per cent), limiting the

time of exposure to loud noise (56 per cent) or

limiting the volume of music played through

headphones (53 per cent). On a general level,

about 30 per cent of Australians wore ear

protection such as ear muffs or plugs to protect

their hearing.


Analysis by age shows that

younger Australians are less

likely to avoid noisy places

for the sake of their hearing,

but are more inclined to

control the volume of their

headphones. Australians

aged between 18 and 24

were also less likely to wear

hearing protection (23 per

cent) than older Australians.

Despite this relatively high awareness of the

potential damage of loud noise to hearing,

there has yet to be a significant change

in behaviour.


2

Very few people believe they have ‘very

poor’ hearing, with self assessments of

hearing becoming more negative with age.

Approximately two in five Australians (41 per

cent) felt that their hearing was either ‘very

good’ or ‘almost perfect’. One in four

(25 per cent) Australians believe their hearing

is below average, however each person’s

concept of ‘average’ is subjective.

2

In reality, one in six Australians suffers from

hearing loss. Over half the population aged

between 60 and 70 has a hearing loss and this

increases to 70 per cent of those over the age

of 70.

The research revealed some trends, with those

having hearing checks in the last three years

more likely to believe they had poor hearing,

whilst more affluent respondents (those

who earned above $100K per year) were

more inclined to feel their hearing was

almost perfect compared with less

affluent respondents.

Perceptions of own hearing by age

How would you rate your own hearing?

% of Respondents (n=1,000)

100

80

60

40

20

0

39

Total (n=100)

Those who believe that loud noise is not

damaging their hearing also felt that they had

better hearing than average. This would imply

either a sense of denial or lack of knowledge

regarding behaviour and consequences or

unawareness of one’s own hearing loss.

Mitchell P et al: The Prevalence, Risk Factors and Impacts

of Hearing Impairment in an Older Australian Community:

the Blue Mountains Hearing Study, 2002

9

32

21

14

17

14

Almost perfect, I can hear

better than most people I know

Very good

Good

Average

A little below average

Well below average

Behaviour directed at protecting hearing by age

Which, if any, of the following do you normally do to protect your hearing?

Perceptions of own hearing by age

How would you rate your own hearing?

% of Respondents

80

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

0

30

41

50

60

69

Avoid places where

loud noise is present

77

55

56

59

60

Limit the time

of exposure to loud noise

55 52

64

58

52 55 52

43

Limit the volume of music

played through headphones

23

33 34 34 26 27 13 14 9 10 10 10

Wear hearing protection

(eg ear plug, ear muffs)

18-24 (n=84) 25-34 (n=184) 35-44 (n=182) 45-54 (n=183) 55-64 (n=185) 65+ (n=182)

Other things

% of Respondents (n=1,000)

100

80

60

40

20

0

10 12 8 6

18

4

16

25

30

36 47 38

16

19

21

15

22

18

11

30

21

30

14

20

22

13

7

5

12

7

9

17

5

2 2 10

2

1

18-24

(n=84)

25-34

(n=184)

35-44

(n=182)

Almost perfect, I can hear better than most people I know

45-54

(n=183)

55-64

(n=185)

65+

(n=182)

Very good

Good

Average

A little below average

Well below average

Very poor, I can hardly hear at all

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Getting our

hearing checked

Attitudes to

Hearing Aids

% of Respondents

Nearly two in three (64 per cent) Australians

report they have had their hearing checked,

with older Australians more likely to have had a

recent check.

Forty per cent of young Australians (18 to

24 year olds) say they have had their hearing

checked, however this figure increases with age

with at least seven in 10 Australians above the

age of 55 stating they have had their hearing

checked. Most Australians have had a basic ear

check at primary school, although many may

have forgotten.

Older Australians are also more likely to recall

having had their hearing checked recently.

More than one third (36 per cent) of those

aged 65 and older who have had their hearing

checked have done so in the past year and an

additional third (31 per cent) in the past

three years.

Getting our hearing checked

Have you ever had your hearing checked?

100

80

60

40

20

0

60

40

18-24

(n=84)

Yes

43

25-34

(n=184)

42

57 58

No

35-44

(n=182)

Australians aged between 18 and 24 are most

likely to have had a check within the last 10

years, while those aged between 35 and 44 are

most likely to have had their last hearing check

more than 10 years ago.

Interestingly, men were more likely than women

to have had their hearing checked. This is an

encouraging sign, given that hearing loss is

more prevalent in men mainly due to noise

exposure in the workplace and during

military service.

Also of note is that people residing in Sydney,

Perth and Tasmania were significantly less

likely to have had a hearing check than in

other areas.

25

34 27

66

45-54

(n=183)

75

55-64

(n=185)

73

65+

(n=182)

Although more than half of Australians were

positive about wearing a hearing aid if their

hearing deteriorated, young Australians have

hesitations based on notions of hearing aids


being ugly and associated with a disability.

Overall, 57 per cent

of Australians stated

they would wear a

hearing aid if their

hearing deteriorated,

and 41 per cent said

‘maybe’. Willingness

to wear a hearing aid

increased with age.


When asked what words are associated with

hearing aids, the leading association is

positive: it improves hearing. There was an

observable difference between the associations

with hearing loss of younger Australians and

older Australians.

Younger Australians (44 years old and

younger) associated hearing loss with more

negative and disease related words such as

deafness, hearing aids, old age and impairment

compared to older Australians (45 years old

plus) who discussed more specific but softer

aspects such as repeating questions, social

isolation and being generally hard of hearing.

Notably, 12 per cent of Australians mentioned

that hearing aids are discrete and unobtrusive,

matching the reality of today’s highly

sophisticated hearing aids.

As expected, fewer young people (44 per

cent) were willing to consider wearing a

hearing aid, and 10 per cent said no outright.

Encouragingly, those in the middle age ranges

positively associated the term, ‘hearing aids’

with comments on improving hearing and how

they are small and discrete.

Image courtesy of Siemens

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Living with

hearing loss

Most Australians know someone with a hearing

impairment, however younger Australians are

less likely to have this personal contact, and

are likely to be more ignorant to how hearing

impairment may affect their lives.

Four in five Australians reportedly know

someone who suffers from hearing loss. There

is a clear link between knowing someone with

hearing loss and increasing age, which is not

surprising given people generally associate with

similar aged peers. Two in three Australians

aged 18 to 24 knew someone with a hearing

impairment, and this figure rises steadily with

age. In the upper bracket, 93 per cent of

Australians aged 65 plus knew someone with a

hearing impairment.

The impact of interacting with

someone with a hearing impairment

was seen as minimal.

Of those Australians who reported that they

suspected someone of having a hearing

impairment, nearly half indicated that it causes

difficulties in terms of their interaction (47 per

cent). Only about one in six people indicated

that the burden of hearing loss on their

relationship was quite difficult.

Tips for talking to someone with

a hearing loss

There is a misperception that hearing loss

affects a person’s ability to hear volume.

In reality, it commonly affects the ability to

discriminate one sound from another. The first

sign of hearing loss due to noise exposure is

difficulty hearing in noisy situations, such as

the dinner table or in a crowd.

Here are some tips for being understood when

talking to someone who suffers from

hearing loss:

• Don’t shout, speak normally.

• Face the person directly.

• Reduce background noise.

• If you are not being understood, find a

different way of saying the same thing.


A similar trend was found when people were

asked if they suspected someone they know of

having a hearing impairment. Sixty-nine per

cent of Australians said ‘yes’, however this was


more prominent the older the respondent was.

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Who is affected by

Hearing loss?

Words associated with hearing aids

What three words or phrases do you associate with hearing aids?

Improves hearing/helpful/assisting

Deaf/deafness/hearing loss/disability

Old/elderly

Unsightly/ugly

24

23

21

20

Small/discrete/unobtrusive

Bulky/cumbersome/large/obtrusive

Uncomfortable

Whistling/feedback/static/squealing

12

11

10

9

Expensive/money

Essential/necessary/needed/useful

Ear piece/ear implant/in ear/hearing aid

Batteries/battery life

Annoying/nuisance/inconvenient

7

7

7

6

6

Other

89

0 20 40 60 80 100

The prevalence of hearing loss increases with

age and this is well known among the general

population, with the elderly being identified as

the highest probability group.

More than half (56 per cent) of the Australians

surveyed thought that 10 to 30 per cent of

the population suffer from hearing impairment

at some level. This is a fairly accurate

assessment, with one in six (17 per cent)

Australians suffering from hearing loss.

Over four in five (83 per cent) Australians

feel that there are segments of the

community which are at a higher risk of

hearing impairment or loss than others. Older

Australians (aged 55 plus) are significantly

more likely to hold this opinion and are most

likely to think that elderly Australians were at

the highest probability.

Twenty-one per cent felt that Indigenous

people were a high-risk group in terms of

hearing loss. This is a correct assumption

although it’s unclear whether respondents were

aware that this is largely due to ear infections

rather than noise exposure. The level of ear

disease in the Aboriginal population is much

higher than that of the general population.

The prevalence of middle ear problems in

Indigenous Australian babies aged 12-18

months is somewhere between 50 per cent and

80 per cent. 3

Younger Australians (under 45 years old)

were more inclined to think that fewer people

suffered from hearing impairment, probably

because they do not experience it first hand.

However two in five young Australians (18 to

24 year olds) felt that teenagers were likely to

have a hearing impairment, though they did

not think that many middle aged people have

hearing loss.

On a more personal level, four in five

Australians know of someone with a confirmed

hearing impairment and at least two in three

people suspect someone as having a hearing

impairment, though they did not think that

many middle aged people have hearing loss.

3

Close GR, et al. Guidelines on the prevention and control of

otitis media and its sequelae in Aboriginal children.

Medical Journal of Australia 1996; 164: supplement.

Willingness to wear a hearing aid

Would you consider wearing a hearing aid if your hearing deteriorates?

% of Respondents

100

80

60

40

20

0

10

46

18-24

(n=84)

4 2 3 1 1

48

44 48

25-34

(n=184)

46 42

52 55

35-44

(n=182)

45-54

(n=183)

38

55-64

(n=185)

26

61 73

65+

(n=182)

Who is affected by hearing loss?

Which, if any, of the following segments do you think are more likely to have hearing loss or impairment?

Elderly people

85

Teenagers

38

Young adults

34

Middle aged people

31

Youth

26

Low income earners

23

Indigenous or aboriginal people

21

Average income earners 9

Children

9

Babies 6

Yes

Maybe

No

People from non-English speaking backgrounds

6

High income earners

People from English speaking backgrounds

None of these

2

4

4

0 20 40 60 80 100

% of Respondents (n=1,000)

20 Is Australia Listening? australian hearing

australian hearing Is Australia Listening? 21


Looking ahead

Realistically, changing the long-term

impact on young peoples’ hearing

appears to involve several aspects.

Education: Bring to light the permanency and

reality of prolonged exposure to loud noise

including music at indoor venues, concerts and

through headphones. Increasing the awareness

of the short and long term effects and providing

realistic options to protecting their hearing may

go a long way to improving healthy

hearing behaviour.

Top-of-mind: Bring the issue of hearing to top

of mind for young Australians in the same way

sun-smart and road driving behaviours have

targeted youth attitudes and behaviours by

presenting them as current and relevant issues.

Tips for taking care of your hearing

• Listen to your MP3 player at a volume

where you can hear someone who is at

arm’s length without him or her having

to shout.

• Limit the amount of time you are

exposed to very loud noise. Take time out

periodically from noisy concerts or clubs.

• Wear ear plugs or muffs if you are

exposed to loud machinery or industrial

noise (such as mowing the lawn).

• Learn to fit ear plugs properly.

Industry: Educate venue operators of the risks

of high-volume noise in enclosed areas and

attempt to change industry behaviours, as well

as consumer behaviour for healthy hearing.

Young people will always go out. Providing

more realistic options with less excessive noise

may provide positive change.


While the ageing population is more acutely aware

of hearing loss and its impact on life, there are

opportunities to better educate the older community

about hearing services and solutions to hearing

problems. Our advice to people aged 65 years and older

is to get your hearing checked every two years. There

are also long-term benefits to dealing with


hearing loss

early and wearing hearing aids at the outset.

22 Is Australia Listening? australian hearing

Image courtesy of Siemens

australian hearing Is Australia Listening? 23


about

Australian

Hearing

Australian Hearing is a federal government

agency with 94 hearing centres and 240

visiting sites around the country.

Our services include assessing hearing, fitting

hearing devices and providing counselling and

rehabilitation programs to help eligible clients

manage their hearing impairment.

Australian Hearing’s clients are at both ends

of the age spectrum, including young adults

under the age of 21, aged pensioners, Veterans

and Indigenous people aged over 50.


Australian Hearing provides the

best hearing care, the latest

hearing aid technology and leads


the world in hearing research.

Check your hearing over the telephone

You can check your hearing over the telephone

in around five minutes. Based on extensive

research, Telscreen has been developed by the

National Acoustic Laboratories in conjunction

with Australian Hearing and is the most advanced

telephone hearing service in the world.

Call 1800 826 500 toll-free

and follow the voice prompts.

Contact us

Call 131 797 to be connected to your

nearest Australian Hearing centre.

For media enquiries call

02 9412 6800.

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