Nearly 1 out of every 4 Canadian adults report having some hearing loss, although closer to 10% of people identify themselves as culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened, or hard of hearing (CHS Awareness Survey 2002). According to a 2006 Canada Census survey, 530,210 people in Ontario (4.74% of the population) are deaf or hard of hearing.
Aging is the number one cause of hearing problems and the incidence of hearing loss is poised to climb dramatically as our population ages – 46% of people aged 45 to 87 have some form of hearing loss (Cruickshanks et al. 1998). Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic condition in older adults and the most widespread disability. This is about 50 % greater than the number of people reporting problems with their eyesight (StatsCan, 2002). Other studies indicate that the true number may reach three million or more Canadian adults, as those suffering from hearing problems often under-report their condition.
The problem is not limited to adults. Approximately 4 in 1,000 Canadian babies are born with some degree of hearing loss or will develop early progressive childhood hearing loss (Ontario Ministry of Child and Youth Services, 2007).