One in six Australians over the age of 15 suffers from hearing loss. The prevalence of hearing loss in Australia is equal to that of Europe. In New Zealand it is estimated that around 15-17% of the adult population is hearing impaired.
A survey has found that growing numbers of Australians will be struggling with hearing loss in the future. The prevalence of hearing loss in Australia is projected to increase from one in six to one in four by 2050.
As in the rest of the world, iPods, MP3 players and other personal stereos are suspected of causing hearing loss among young Australians and New Zealanders.
A large proportion of hearing impaired elderly people in Australia and New Zealand live without the benefit of hearing aids. In addition, general practitioners are often unaware of the need to provide hearing screening of their elderly patients.
On the Pacific Islands, hearing loss among children is a major problem. Almost 17% of all children in the Pacific Islands suffer from hearing loss. This is almost twice the rate found in e.g. European children. One of the main causes for this is ear infections.
The articles in these pages provide an overall view of the prevalence of hearing loss in various countries in Oceania.