A Canadian first: community-based affordable hearing care

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“Our program is tailored to serve older adults with unmanaged hearing loss and consists of education and counselling around hearing and communication combined with low-cost, over-the-counter hearing devices. Only 20 per cent of those with hearing loss use hearing aids and this program will help those who have not previously sought help or who have difficulty accessing the current system.”

-Marilyn Reed, Practice Advisor for Audiology, Baycrest Health Sciences

The Toronto HEARS (Hearing Equality through Accessible Research and Solutions) project is the first Canadian community-based, low-cost, hearing rehabilitation program of its kind that will provide older adults easier access to affordable hearing care in their community.

Hearing loss is the third most common disability among older adults and is associated with declines in cognitive, physical and mental health. The average period between identifying hearing loss and seeking help is 10 years.

Baycrest’s Audiology department is partnering with community centres across Toronto to deliver and test the feasibility of Toronto HEARS, a program developed at Johns Hopkins University in the United States. The project aims to improve communication, social engagement and quality of life for seniors with hearing loss.

This program was generously funded by the Canadian Centre for Brain Health Innovation (CC-ABHI).