Hearing loss is relatively common in New Zealand. Deloitte Access Economics was commissioned by the National Foundation for the Deaf to undertake a comprehensive analysis on the social and economic cost of hearing loss in New Zealand.
Hearing is the ability to detect vibrations through the ear, and perceive and understand sound. It is a primary sense, one which enables communication, together with vision and touch. A hearing loss essentially limits one's ability to communicate, and through this, limits a person's ability to interact with their community, in the absence of appropriate supports.
Hearing loss is relatively common in New Zealand. The prevalence of hearing loss was estimated to be 880,350 people in New Zealand in 2016. This represents 18.9% of all people.
There are a variety of thresholds and measures that are used to define whether a person has hearing loss. This report, commissioned from Deloitte Access Economics by the National Foundation for the Deaf, relied on studies that have used audiometric testing and defined severity of hearing loss as mild, moderate or severe based on work undertaken for the Global Burden of Disease study.
The report has found that hearing loss is a significant issue facing the New Zealand population. As it currently stands, some of the people with hearing loss in New Zealand can experience high barriers to the services, recognition and support they deserve.