Far too frequently, we hear people claim that hearing loss only impacts “old people,” that it’s just a natural part of getting old, or that it’s generally an uncommon ailment.
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 extent, affects 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 entire state of California by 10 million people.
1 out of every 5 people in the US has some amount of hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is undiagnosed and untreated. As a result, the chances that you know someone with hearing loss or have hearing loss yourself is, unfortunately, very high.
Additionally, from 2000 to 2015, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled, and globally the number is up by 44 percent. This makes hearing loss the second most prevalent health disorder worldwide. This truth is, those living with hearing loss exceed in number those living with Parkinson’s, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes combined.
Hearing loss by age group
Even if 1 out of 5 people in the US has some extent of hearing loss, we’re still only referring to older people, correct?
This is a prevalent myth, but the answer 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. More than 30 million Americans under the age of 65 have hearing loss. Of those:
- 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59) have some kind of hearing loss.
- 1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40) already have hearing loss.
- 1.4 million children (18 or younger) have hearing difficulty.
- 2-3 out of 1,000 infants are born with a noticeable amount of hearing loss in one or both ears.
Although hearing loss is prevalent throughout all age groups, the severity of hearing loss does have the tendency to increase with age. Whereas only about 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have debilitating hearing loss, the rate grows 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 exceedingly common (both in the US and around the world), affects all age groups, and has become more widespread over time. What’s the cause behind all of this?
There are numerous causes, but the two chief causes of hearing loss are direct exposure to loud sound and the aging process.
As for sound exposure, the NIDCD estimates that roughly 15 percent of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 suffer from hearing loss due to exposure to loud sounds on the job or during leisure activities.
The World Health Organization has also estimated that 1.1 billion teens and young adults worldwide are at risk of developing hearing loss from the use of personal audio devices played at high volumes.
Regarding aging, the population of those aged 65 years and older is increasing, and hearing loss is more widespread among this group.
Can hearing aids help?
The optimal defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Keeping away from loud noise, increasing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and using personalized ear protection are three strategies that can save your hearing.
But what happens if you currently have hearing loss?
Fortunately, owing to the advances in technology and hearing healthcare, virtually all cases of hearing loss can be treated. And in contrast to the hearing aids of 10-15 years ago, modern day hearing aids have proven to be highly effective.
A current study by the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that hearing aids (three popular types tested) are in fact generally effective, concluding that “each [hearing aid] circuit provided significant benefit in quiet and noisy listening situations.”
Patients have also noted the benefits: The National Center for Biotechnology Information, after looking at 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 statistics speak for themselves, and your chances of acquiring hearing loss are regretfully quite high. But the numbers also demonstrate that, even in the event that you have hearing loss, the chances that you’ll benefit from using hearing aids is very high
Whether you need customized ear protection to protect against hearing loss or a new pair of hearing aids to enhance the hearing you’ve already lost, we can help. We have experience with all types of hearing loss and can help find the right treatment for you.