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Health Rep. 2015 Jul;26(7):18-25.

Prevalence of hearing loss among Canadians aged 20 to 79: Audiometric results from the 2012/2013 Canadian Health Measures Survey.

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Health Effects and Assessment Division, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
Health Analysis Division, Statistics Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
Audiology Department, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario.



In Canada, population-level estimates of hearing loss have been based on self-reported data, yielding estimates of 4% or 5%. Self-reported hearing difficulties may result in underestimates of hearing loss, particularly among people with mild loss and among older adults.


The 2012/2013 Canadian Health Measures Survey (cycle 3) collected audiometric and self-reported data to estimate the prevalence of hearing loss and limitations in a population-based sample of Canadians aged 20 to 79. Weighted frequencies and cross-tabulations were used to calculate measured and self-reported hearing levels by sociodemographic characteristics. All estimates were weighted at the person-level to represent the population.


Based on a pure-tone average of four frequencies that are important in speech, 19.2% of Canadians aged 20 to 79 had measured hearing loss in at least one ear; 35.4% had high-frequency hearing loss. These levels exceeded the self-reported estimate of hearing difficulty--3.7%--derived from responses to questions from the Health Utilities Index Mark 3. The prevalence of measured hearing loss rose with age from no more than 10% among people younger than 50 to 65% at ages 70 to 79. Men were more likely than women to have a hearing loss, a difference that emerged around age 60. Canadians with low household income and/or educational attainment were more likely than those in higher income/education households to have a hearing loss.


This analysis presents the first population-based audiometric data on the prevalence of hearing loss among the adult household population of Canada, and highlights the disparity between measured and self-reported outcomes.


Audiometry; deafness; earwax; hearing aids; hearing loss; hearing-impaired persons

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