Educational attainment, labour force status and injury: a comparison of Canadians with and without deafness and hearing loss

Woodcock, K., Pole, J.D., 2008. Educational Attainment, Labour Force Status and Injury: a comparison of Canadians with and without deafness and hearing loss. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research 31, 297–304. 

Communication is essential to both educational attainment and labour force participation. Deafness–both the disability and the culture–creates a communication barrier. The objective of this study is to profile the educational attainment, labour force status and injury profile of deaf and hard-of-hearing Canadians in relation to the population as a whole. Using data from the Canada Community Health Survey 1.1, a cross-sectional survey conducted by Statistics Canada with a total of 131,535 respondents, a series of logistic regression models were fitted to estimate the odds of reporting the presence of educational attainment, labour force status and injury, and being classified as having a hearing problem. For each odds ratio, 95% confidence intervals are provided. All analyses were adjusted for age and sex with some analyses being restricted to appropriate age ranges or having further adjustments made, depending on the outcome. Approximately 4% of the respondents were considered to have a hearing problem. The prevalence of hearing problems increases with age and men have a slightly higher prevalence of hearing problems compared with women (4.52 vs. 3.53%). Respondents classified as having a hearing problem, whether hearing loss or deafness, were more likely to have achieved less education, less likely to be working and experience higher rates of injury and work-related injury compared with hearing respondents. These results underscore the need to equalize access to education and employment and assure the accessibility to workplace safety and wellness for this minority group.

Author: Kathryn Woodcock

Dr. Kathryn Woodcock is Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University, teaching, researching, and consulting in the area of human factors engineering / ergonomics particularly applied to amusement rides and attractions (, and to broader occupational and public safety issues of performance, error, investigation and inspection, and to disability and accessibility.