A new study from Statistics Canada estimates more than half of Canadians between ages 40 to 79 have some sort of hearing loss, and many may not recognize it in themselves.

The study on unperceived hearing loss used data from the 2012 and 2015 Canadian Health Measures Survey and estimates 54 per cent of Canadians in that age range have at least mild hearing loss in the high-frequency range. Further to that, among the people with hearing loss, 77 per cent did not perceive any hearing loss, meaning they did not self-report any hearing problems, had no history of hearing problems, or were using any hearing aids before testing.

Winnipeg hearing instrument practitioner Leslie Holden said the findings are not surprising.

“I think if they even went lower under 40 they would be surprised how many people under 40 even have a hearing loss,” she told CTV News Wednesday.

She said many people who come in for testing at her clinic in CF Polo Park are surprised they have hearing loss. 

“It’s something that creeps up on you gradually,” she said.  “As you age slowly you find that maybe you’re not hearing as well, the high frequencies tend to go. Low frequencies where you get the power of speech,the volume, you feel that you’re hearing but you might not just be understanding as well as you once did.” 

Holden suspects people put off getting their hearing tested because they associate it with getting older.

“We get our eyes checked, the kids are at the dentist at two-years-old getting their teeth checked, but unless maybe a physician reminds you, have you had your hearing checked, people just don’t think about it,” she said.

She added because hearing loss is permanent, it’s important for everyone to wear ear protection when appropriate. The examples she gave were: working in an industrial setting, attending a concert, mowing the lawn, or using power tools.

“All those will damage the high frequencies first,” she said.