Almost 1.5 million Chileans suffer from hearing disorders, according to the first national study on Disabilities in Chile.
About 14.000 Chileans participated in the national study carried out in 2004 by FONADIS, the National Organization for People with Disabilities.
The study indicated that more than 290.000 Chileans, 1,8 percent of the total population, are seriously hearing impaired, defined as a 33 percent hearing loss or worse, while an additional 1.150.000, 6.9 percent of the total population, have less severe diminished hearing ability.
One in every 14 Chileans with hearing problems stated that they are having difficulties understanding a normal conversation, yet just 12 percent of this group use hearing aids. In the group suffering more than 33 percent hearing loss, preventing them from functioning normally, just 20 percent use hearing aids.
Few make it to higher education
Hearing loss affects education. According to the study, 11 percent of the population with hearing impairment has never completed elementary school. 40 percent have not completed secondary school, and only 6% of hearing impaired Chileans completed a higher education.
Fewer than one third employed
Hearing impaired Chileans face serious problems in the labour market. Only 29 percent of hearing impaired Chileans are working. Almost 25 percent are unemployed, and approximately 40 percent do housework.
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