Body and Mind

Neglected sense

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A new survey commissioned by hearing care experts Audika reveals some important insights about attitudes to hearing.1

  • 59% of respondents believe negative stigma surrounds hearing loss.
  • 80% responded that they have ‘a little’ understanding of hearing loss.
  • Sight tops the charts but hearing close behind: survey shows 69% rank hearing as a crucial sense.
  • 73% of respondents admit to neglecting hearing.
  • More than 1 in 4 (27%) of respondents say hearing is their most soothing sense.

Sydney, 13 June 2024 – A new survey commissioned by hearing care experts Audika Hearing Clinic reveals surveyed Australians prioritise their sight over hearing, despite over three quarters (77%) knowing someone who is hard of hearing. Most (86%) respondents ranked sight as their most important sense, with hearing coming in second (69%)1. Unsurprisingly, this is reflected in which sense they care for more, with almost three quarters (73%) of respondents admitting that between hearing and sight, their hearing was the most neglected1.

Reasons for neglect: Lack of understanding and stigma

Both stigma and a lack of understanding can impact the way Australians prioritise their senses. Interestingly, while most respondents (80%)1 claim to have ‘a little’ understanding of hearing loss1, more than a quarter (27%) also said they neglected their hearing because they didn’t understand and know where to start1.

More than half of Australian respondents (59%) think there is a negative stigma surrounding hearing loss1, this increased among respondents aged 18-24 (61%)7 and 50-64 (64%)8. While this declined slightly among those surveyed aged 65+ (55%)2, 4 in 10 (41%)2 of senior respondents think there is a negative stigma surrounding hearing aids.

No stranger to the stigma of hearing loss, Mackenzie Arnold, goalkeeper of the Matildas and Audika ambassador, has recently discussed her experience with hearing loss, admitting there was a stigma around the avenues for addressing hearing loss that, as a child, prevented her from seeking treatment.

“I was in denial that my hearing was ‘bad enough’ to get it checked, because there was a stigma around some of the ways you might address hearing loss.

“Despite my brother having hearing loss since childhood, I convinced myself mine was not bad enough until early last year, and he was my biggest driver in seeking help. Since addressing my hearing loss, I have noticed a great change in the quality of my life, and I want to inspire others to feel comfortable to get their hearing checked earlier,” Arnold says.

Stigma by state

When it comes to negative stigma surrounding hearing loss, New South Wales respondents were the most inclined to agree with 65%3, compared to 58%4,5 in Queensland and Victoria, and 50%6 in Western Australia^.

Victorian respondents were most likely to know someone with probable hearing loss, with almost 8 in 10 (79%) claiming to know someone who is hard of hearing5. 7 in 10 (72%) Western Australian6 respondents know someone who is hard of hearing, increasing to three quarters (75%) in Queensland4 and over three quarters (77%) in New South Wales3.

The negative stigma associated with hearing loss alongside the number of respondents who know someone who is hard of hearing found in this survey, suggests there may be many Australians not prioritising their hearing health.

Encouraging all Australians across the country to prioritise their hearing is the first step towards reducing the stigma and improving understanding of hearing loss and how to treat it.

Hearing health and quality of life

Lauren McNee, experienced clinician, and audiologist at Audika Hearing Clinic, says hearing can profoundly impact the way we engage with community, alongside senses such as sight and touch.

“It impacts how confident we feel to engage in community, listen to loved ones, and feel a sense of belonging. While it is often an overlooked health issue, it is one that can greatly impact mental health and emotional wellbeing.

“Whether it’s your own hearing or the hearing of a loved one, it’s important to discuss hearing health, reduce the stigma around hearing loss, and promote hearing checks,” says McNee.

Hearing health can significantly contribute to quality of life given its crucial role in most interpersonal interactions. It can also be a source of comfort and soothing, with more than a quarter of the (27%) respondents saying hearing was the sense they found the most soothing and comforting of the five senses (taste, touch, sight, smell, hearing) 1.

Audika Hearing Clinic is encouraging all Australians over 26 to ‘Love Your Ears’ by visiting their closest clinic for a FREE hearing check or take the five-minute online hearing check via

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