Groupe Forget - Polyclinique de l'Oreille

Prevalence of Deafness

According to the World Health Organization, 15% of adults worldwide have a hearing impairment, with one third of them suffering from incapacitating hearing loss.

In Quebec, approximately 1,245,000 people have hearing loss. Adults aged 60 to 79 are more likely to suffer from hearing loss (78%), compared to adults aged 40 to 59 (40%) and to adults aged 20 to 39 (15%). In addition, more men than women suffer from hearing loss, with a prevalence of 47% vs. 32%, respectively.

Most hearing loss is neural and/or sensory in nature, and therefore cannot be corrected or improved with medical treatment or surgery. Of this majority, only two out of 10 people are seen by a medical professional for this issue. In other words, 80% of adults with hearing loss have not been diagnosed or treated.


As for children, the World Health Organization reports that six out of every 1,000 children are born with permanent hearing loss, with only 50% presenting a risk factor. Also, nearly 15% of school-age children have temporary or permanent hearing impairment, in one or both ears, of minimal severity or greater. This could affect their communication, learning, grades and psychosocial development.

To limit the impacts hearing difficulties can cause, early detection is vital, whether it occurs at birth, before starting school, starting at the age of 50 or at any age when the concerned person, the parent or caregiver feels there may be an issue.

Whether for an elderly person, an adult, a child or an infant, if there is any doubt about hearing or signs of hearing loss, it is advisable to make an appointment without delay with an audiologist for a complete hearing examination.

 By Abir Kheir, Audiologist, Polyclinique de l’Oreille

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