The Alarming Hearing Loss Statistics You Need to Know About

Far too frequently, we hear people state that hearing loss only impacts “old people,” that it’s just a natural part of growing old, or that it’s generally an uncommon condition.

These comments couldn’t be further from the facts.

Here are statistics you need to know about:

PREVALENCE OF HEARING LOSS IN THE UNITED STATES

Hearing loss, to some amount, impacts 20 percent of all Americans, or 48 million people, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America. If everyone with hearing loss in the US resided in the same state, its population would be larger than the whole state of California by 10 million people.

1 out of every 5 people in the US has some kind of hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is undiagnosed and untreated. So, the probability that you know someone with hearing loss or have hearing loss yourself is, unfortunately, relatively high.

Additionally, from 2000 to 2015, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled, and worldwide the number is up by 44 percent. This makes hearing loss the second most widespread health disorder globally. In fact, those living with hearing loss exceed in number those living with Parkinson’s, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes combined.

HEARING LOSS BY AGE GROUP

Although 1 out of 5 individuals in the US has some extent of hearing loss, we’re still only referring to older people, right?

This is a widespread myth, but the reply is an unequivocal no.

According to the Better Hearing Institute, of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, only around 35 percent are 65 years of age or older. Well over 30 million Americans under the age of 65 have hearing loss. Of those:

  • 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59) have some level of hearing loss.
  • 1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40) already have hearing loss.
  • 1.4 million children (18 or younger) have hearing problems.
  • 2-3 out of 1,000 infants are born with a noticeable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.

While hearing loss is commonplace spanning all age brackets, the severity of hearing loss does tend to increase with age. Whereas only about 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss, the rate rises to 8.5 percent for adults aged 55 to 64, about 25 percent for adults aged 65 to 74, and around 50 percent for adults aged 75 and older.

THE CAUSES OF HEARING LOSS

Hearing loss is extremely common (both in the US and around the world), impacts all age groups, and has become more prevalent as time passes. What’s the cause behind this trend?

There are several causes, but the two primary causes of hearing loss are direct exposure to loud sound and the aging process.

Regarding sound exposure, the NIDCD estimates that approximately 15 percent of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 suffer from hearing loss as a result of exposure to loud sounds at the workplace or during leisure activities.

The World Health Organization has also estimated that 1.1 billion teens and young adults internationally are at an increased risk of developing hearing loss from the use of personal audio devices played at high volumes.

Regarding aging, the population of individuals aged 65 years and older is growing, and hearing loss is more common among this group.

CAN HEARING AIDS HELP?

The prime defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Staying away from loud noise, increasing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and wearing personalized ear protection are three strategies that can safeguard your hearing.

But what if you already have hearing loss?

Fortunately, thanks to the advancements in technology and hearing health care, nearly all cases of hearing loss can be treated. And compared with the hearing aids of 10-15 years ago, today’s hearing aids have proven to be effective.

A current study by the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that hearing aids (three prominent models examined) are in fact generally effective, concluding that “each [hearing aid] circuit provided significant benefit in quiet and noisy listening situations.”

Patients have also acknowledged the benefits: The National Center for Biotechnology Information, after reviewing years of research, concluded that “studies have shown that users are quite satisfied with their hearing aids.”

Similarly, a recent MarkeTrak consumer satisfaction survey found that, for people with hearing aids four years of age or less, 78.6% were satisfied with their hearing aid performance.


The data speak for themselves, and your odds of acquiring hearing loss are unfortunately quite high. But the numbers also show that, even if you have hearing loss, the chances that you’ll benefit from using hearing aids is very high

Whether you need tailor made ear protection to avoid hearing loss or a new set of hearing aids to amplify the hearing you’ve already lost, we can help. We have experience with all types of hearing loss and can help find the right solution for you.

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