Hearing Healthcare – time to take action
Toronto, ON (October 3, 2011) An Ontario Hearing Healthcare Initiative, led by The Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) in partnership with six organizations as well as research representatives from Canadian universities, seeks to have critical hearing healthcare issues on the radar of the Ontario government.
As the baby boomer generation ages and the number of older adults in Ontario increases, evidence shows that the incidence of hearing loss is growing and becoming more widespread. Hearing loss among youth is also growing – mostly caused by the exposure to loud noise such as through headphones or from live music concerts.
Hearing loss can have a major impact on safety, mental health, quality of life, social isolation, finances, family relationships, the ability to communicate with healthcare providers, and contribute to the onset and progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Surprisingly, the practice of testing or screening hearing among older adults is not routine in Ontario.
In spite of this, hearing loss continues to be a low priority in Ontario’s healthcare system.
“It is time that the Ontario government adopts a hearing healthcare initiative that will promote the management and conservation of hearing health, that if ignored continues to have devastating and detrimental effects on Ontarians and the cost of our healthcare system,” says CHS President and CEO Chris Kenopic.
The number of older adults aged 65 and over is projected to be 4.1 million or 23.4% by 2036. The baby boomer generation is not the only demographic affected by hearing loss. Recent studies now show 1 in 5 young adults already have signs of hearing loss attributed to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). NIHL is irreversible and the damage lasts a lifetime, but it is preventable and part of the scope of the Hearing Healthcare Initiative. Research also indicates that hearing loss has a higher incidence with other conditions, such as diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Hearing loss negatively impacts the yearly household income by approximately $11,000 per year.
Education and early detection is critical. Typically individuals are waiting six to ten years before seeking help.
The important thing to know is that hearing loss and its impacts can be managed to reduce its impact.
The Canadian Hearing Society has actively worked to raise awareness of these issues and work toward solutions with Members of Provincial Parliament and government officials at Queen’s Park for a number of years by conducting meetings, holding our annual CHS Day at Queen’s Park and participating in ongoing government consultations. During this provincial election we have sought to educate all candidates about our platform www.chs.ca and we have polled all three parties on issues important to our consumers. The responses to our poll can be found on our web site.
We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Ontario Government to improve the lives of Ontarians with hearing loss and reducing the overall strain on the healthcare system by integrating hearing healthcare into existing strategic health programs.
The Canadian Hearing Society (CHS)
Founded in 1940, CHS is the leading provider of services, products, and information that remove barriers to communication, advance hearing health, and promote equity for people who are culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing.
Association of Hearing Instrument Practitioners (AHIP)
Canadian Academy of Audiology (CAA)
Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA)
College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO)
The Hearing Foundation of Canada (HFC)
Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (OSLA)
About the Hearing Healthcare Initiative for Ontario
Several years ago, The Canadian Hearing Society began building a coalition to work toward a Hearing Healthcare Initiative for Ontario. This initiative, led by The Canadian Hearing Society (CHS), is in partnership with six organizations as well as research representatives from Canadian universities – all dedicated to promoting hearing health in Ontario. Along with advisors from across the international and Canadian hearing healthcare sector and within the healthcare system, we are committed to developing a Hearing Healthcare Initiative to be adopted by the Province of Ontario that will promote the conservation of hearing and make a difference in the lives of those who experience hearing loss.