Press Release – National Foundation for the Deaf
“We used to say that 1:10 had hearing impairment but recent statistics in the UK and Australia show that in fact 1:6 people are thought to have a hearing disability. 1:6 now thought to have hearing loss
“We used to say that 1:10 had hearing impairment but recent statistics in the UK and Australia show that in fact 1:6 people are thought to have a hearing disability.
“When we apply those rates here, over 700,000 New Zealanders are affected,” says Louise Carroll, CEO of the National Foundation for the Deaf.”
So what does this mean for these 700,000 people?
“Hearing loss is very isolating,” says Bob, who has suffered with a long-standing hearing loss. “You experience frustration, misunderstanding, put downs. You’re loath to join in a conversation, because if they’ve moved on, they’ll think you’re mad.”
“New Zealand urgently needs to be doing something about this burgeoning burden of disability,” says Ms Carroll. “We are calling on the New Zealand Government to fund nationwide research, as was done in Australia.”
The Australian research report Listen Hear showed that the real financial cost of hearing loss for the country was $11.75 billion in 2005. That works out to an average cost of $3,314 per person with a hearing loss per year, or $578 for every Australian.
“Without this kind of research, we have no idea what hearing loss is costing the country,” says Ms Carroll. “More than half of the cost in Australia was productivity cost – almost half the people with hearing impairments are of working age, but are unemployed due to their hearing loss.”
The same thing is thought to be happening in New Zealand.
“The government needs to get a real picture of hearing loss and what its economic and social impacts on the country are. Then we need to develop a strategy on how to better support people with hearing impairments, and to educate the wider population on how to preserve their hearing.
“There’s a lot to do, and research is the start.”