Canada: the economic impact of hearing changes


© International Society of Audiology

A number of economic factors are converging at the same time as the rate of hearing loss increases, creating new concerns about the workforce’s ability to sustain the economy. The Hearing Institute Canada reports on how changes in the workforce and changes in the country’s economy are converging to create a new environment where hearing health has to become a national priority.

The Canadian economy has seen many changes over the last few years, including a significant shift towards activities that require employees to have very good communication skills. Knowledge-based work has taken a leading role with people providing services by phone, internet, and through electronic systems. Communication has thus become key to economic success in this environment.

At the same time, demographics are changing in Canada with the workforce becoming more mature on average. Older people are also staying in employment longer and delaying retirement, a workforce group that is more susceptible to age-related hearing loss. There is also an increase in the number of adults with hearing loss (estimated at over 2 million people).

Some of the dangers related to untreated hearing loss cited in the article include the impact of hearing loss on productivity, job performance, and loss of earnings, with associated fatigue and distress for employees. Other issues involving communication ability are the effect of hearing loss on interpersonal interactions, increased sick leave, and disengagement from work. The relationship between untreated hearing loss and other health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and smoking will also have an effect. These dangers highlight the economic importance of treating hearing loss.

Source: Hearing Institute Canada