It's estimated 7.8 million Australians will be affected by hearing loss by 2060, prompting calls for a free hearing screening program for people aged over 50.
The number of Australians affected by hearing loss is expected to soar within the next 50 years at great cost to the economy.
Hearing Care Industry Association has launched a report, developed by Deloitte Access Economics, on the social and economic cost of hearing loss in Australia.
It estimates around 3.6 million Australians are currently affected by hearing loss, at a cost of $15.9 billion as a result of premature retirement and diminished productivity.
By 2060, it's estimated one in five Australians, or 7.8 million, will be living with a hearing issue.
At great risk are those aged 12 to 35, warns the report.
It's estimated up to 50 per cent of young Australians are likely to develop hearing loss after five years of exposure to loud music.
With more than a third of cases thought to be preventable, the report calls for the introduction of a free hearing screening program for people aged over 50.
"The significant increase in the prevalence of hearing loss shown in this report raises challenges for the hearing care industry on how we can best support and mitigate the impact on the Australian population," said HCIA's chairman, Mr Ashley Wilson.
HCIA also recommends that the hearing aid voucher program be extended to people in low income groups including younger and older Australians.