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Ear health in Australia

In Australia:

  • around 3.6 million people suffer from hearing loss
  • more than 1.3 million people live with a hearing condition that could have been prevented

The most common causes of hearing loss are age-related and excessive exposure to loud noise. Hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noise is preventable. One study suggests 37% of Australians have noise related ear damage.

In adults, research suggests that untreated hearing loss may:

  • increase the risk of memory loss
  • increase the risk of depression 

In Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, children have much higher rates of middle ear infection compared to other children. If left untreated, this can result in hearing loss.

For these reasons, it’s important to be aware of how to prevent hearing loss and the signs of hearing loss.

What we’re doing about ear health

Through the Australian Government Hearing Services Program we continue to work towards
reducing the incidence and consequences of avoidable hearing loss in the Australian community. 

This includes providing access to high quality hearing services and devices to eligible people.

We set up and fund initiatives to raise awareness of ear health and to help prevent hearing loss in children and adults.

Specific initiatives are available to help improve ear and hearing health for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander children.

We provide advice to health professionals to help them manage ear conditions, such as our otitis media (middle ear infection) clinical care guidelines

We also fund research into hearing health to help us focus our policy and programs on specific needs, such as:

  • subsidised hearing aids and services
  • early detection of hearing loss in school-aged children
  • improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hearing health

The Medical Research Future Fund also funds research aimed at ending avoidable hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Support services

National Relay Service

If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can use the National Relay Service to access any of the department's contact phone numbers. The service is available 24 hours a day from anywhere in Australia

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Know Your Noise

This website provides information about noise and how it can affect your hearing health. Find out if the noise at your work or other places is putting you at risk of hearing damage. You can also take a hearing test to check if you have hearing loss.

View contact