Skip to content

Hearing Loss Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet on Hearing Loss

Risk Factors for Hearing Loss

Your ears are incredibly effective but delicate sensory organs. They are susceptible to damage from, among other things, chronic diseases, medications and trauma. Recent studies have shown how closely linked hearing loss is to many different medical conditions. You are at increased risk of hearing loss if any of the following apply to you:
  • Age – 29% of Australians aged 51-60 years have a hearing loss, rising to 66% in those over 60 1
  • Diabetes – 2x greater incidence for ages 20-69 2
  • Obesity – 2x greater incidence in men, 1.3 in women 3,4
  • Smoking, including being exposed to second-hand smoke – 2x greater incidence 5,6
  • Cardiovascular disease, including hypertension 7
  • Usage of certain medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen, aminoglycoside antibiotics, loop diuretics and chemotherapy drugs can cause hearing loss 8
  • Balance issues, including dizziness 8
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) 9
  • Exposure to high noise levels 8
  • Head injuries 8
  • Family history of hearing loss 8
  • History of ear infections or ear surgery 8,9

Complications of Hearing Loss

Ears collect and transmit sound while the brain processes it. When patients have a hearing loss they lose sound quality. Their brain can compensate to a certain degree but this requires substantial processing power. This can lead to several serious complications, including:
  • Social withdrawal and isolation 10
  • Non-compliance with medical advice, including taking medications incorrectly 11
  • Difficulties in the workplace 1
  • Mental exhaustion due to the effort required to understand other people 12,13
  • Increased risk of dementia 14
  • Increased falls risk – 3x greater incidence 15
  • Increased risk of hospitalisation 16
  • Decreased overall Quality of Life, which hearing aids have been shown to effectively improve 17

Economic Cost of Hearing Loss

  • Hearing loss costs the Australian economy $11.75 billion 1
  • Treating hearing loss costs $674 million, less than 6% of its economic cost 1
  • The burden of disease caused by hearing loss alone accounts for 3.8% of the total burden of disease and costs an estimated additional $11.3 billion 1

Signs Patients Should See an Audiologist

  • Difficulty picking out words in background noise
  • Speaking loudly and having difficulty understanding and responding to people
  • Feeling like they have to concentrate to understand other people
  • Non-compliance with medical advice
  • Having a history of falls or having problems with balance or dizziness
  • Having depression, worry or anxiety, especially related to socialising
  • Buzzing or ringing in the ears
  • Having a history of exposure to loud noises
  • Patient feels like everybody, especially women and children, mumble
  • Having one or more of the risk factors for hearing loss
  • You are concerned about their risk of future hearing loss due to risky hearing behaviours
  • Hearing assessments for:
    • Adults and Children
    • Pensioners and Veterans (free service)
    • WorkCover
    • Tinnitus / Neuromonics / Acoustic Shock /Hyperacusis
    • Speech in noise
    • Commercial drivers/ Track access
    • Pre-employment
    • Aviation / Diving
    • Chronic disease management (Medicare rebate with Allied Health form)
  • Hearing aid fittings – all styles and manufacturers, custom made and expertly fitted
  • On-going support & rehabilitation for hearing aid users
  • Custom Noise, Musicians and swimming plugs
  • Counselling on preventing hearing loss
  • Tinnitus counselling and treatment
If your patient is an Australian Pensioner they may qualify for free hearing services. To find out if they can access free hearing services you or they can simply Freecall 0865 555 144 with their Australian Pensioner card handy and we can check their eligibility and register them straight away. We will then send you a form to sign, confirming they require hearing services. All you need to do is return the form to us and they become eligible. You can find more information on HSP services, as well as access the HSP medical form here.

Hearing And Audiology Locations and Contact Information


  1. Listen Hear! The economic impact and cost of hearing loss in Australia. Access Economics. 2006 February:31-34
  2. Bainbridge KE, Hoffman H J, Cowie CC. Diabetes and Hearing Impairment in the United States: Audiometric Evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999 to 2004.Annals of Internal Medicine. 2008 July 01;149(1):1-19
  3. Barrenäs ML, Jonsson B, Tuvemo T, Hellström PA, Lundgren M. High risk of sensorineural hearing loss in men born small for gestational age with and without obesity or height catch-up growth: a prospective longitudinal register study on birth size in 245,000 Swedish conscripts. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism. 2005 August;90(8):4452-4456
  4. Curhan SG et al. Body Mass Index, Waist Circumference, Physical Activity, and Risk of Hearing Loss in Women. The American Journal of Medicine. 2013;126(12):1142e2-e8
  5. Nomura K, Nakao M, Morimoto T. Effect of smoking on hearing loss: quality assessment and meta-analysis. Preventive Medicine. 2005 February;40(2):138-144
  6. Cruickshanks, K, Klein R, Klein B, Wiley T. Cigarette Smoking and Hearing Loss: The Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study. JAMA. 1998 June 03;279(21):1715-9
  7. Hull R, Kerschen SR. The Influence of Cardiovascular Health on Peripheral and Central Auditory Function in Adults: A Research Review. American Journal of Audiology. 2010 June; 19:9-16
  8. Walling AD, Dickson GM. Hearing Loss in Older Adults. American Family Physician. 2012 June 15;85(12):1150-1156
  9. Moscicki EK et al. Hearing Loss in the Elderly: An Epidemiologic Study of the Framingham Heart Study Cohort. Ear Hear. 1985; 6:184–190
  10. McMahon CM, Gopinath B, Schneider J, et al. The Need for Improved Detection and Management of Adult-Onset Hearing Loss in Australia. International Journal of Otolaryngology. 2013;2013:308509.
  11. Chia EM, Wang JJ, Rochtchina E, Cumming RR, Newall P, Mitchell P. Hearing impairment and health-related quality of life: the Blue Mountains Hearing Study. Ear and Hearing. 2007;28:187–195
  12. Arlinger S. Negative consequences of uncorrected hearing loss-a review. International journal of audiology. 2003 Jul 1;42:2S17-20
  13. Genther DJ et al. Association of Hearing Impairment and Mortality in Older Adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2015 January;70(1):85–90
  14. Lin FR, Metter EJ, O’Brien RJ, Resnick SM, Zonderman AB, Ferrucci L. Hearing loss and incident dementia. Arch Neurol. 2011;68:214–220
  15. Lin FR, Ferrucci L. Hearing loss and falls among older adults in the United States. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172:369-371
  16. Genther DJ et al. Association Between Hearing Impairment and Risk of Hospitalisation in Older Adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015; 63(6):1146-1152 (hospitalisations)
  17. Ciorba A, Bianchini C, Pelucchi S, Pastore A.The impact of hearing loss on the quality of life of elderly adults. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2012;7:159-163
© Hearing and Audiology 2016
Please ask for permission before reproducing any content on this site.

Get Our Newsletter

Join our subscribers list to get the latest updates directly in your inbox.