Headphones tipped to cause hearing loss boom

  • 07/08/2015

Young people's love affair with headphones could prove problematic down the track.

An Auckland University study has found the number of elderly New Zealanders suffering from hearing loss is expected to double in the next 50 years.

That's largely due to an aging population, but University of Auckland audiologist Grant Searchfield says listening to music through gadgets may also play a part.

"This combination of length of time and the loudness of sound can result in hearing loss, which combined with the aging process may lead to greater numbers of individuals having hearing loss as they age."

The study found the hearing health workforce will need another 89 audiologists and 32 related specialists by 2061.

Dr Searchfield says an increasing number of over-65s living in rural areas could present challenges.

"There's a need to provide a change really to reach out to smaller communities and find ways of providing hearing help for them out in those outlying areas."

However, developments in technology may ease potential staff shortages in remote areas.

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