Far too often, we hear people assert that hearing loss only applies to “old people,” that it’s just part of getting old, or that it’s generally an uncommon ailment.
These claims couldn’t be further from the truth.
Here are statistics you need to know about:
Prevalence of hearing loss in the US
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 type of hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is unknown and untreated. As a result, 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 around the world the number is up by 44 percent. This makes hearing loss the second most widespread health problem around the globe. This truth is, those living with hearing loss outnumber 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 degree of hearing loss, we’re still only speaking about older people, right?
This is a widespread myth, but the answer is an unmistakable no.
According to the Better Hearing Institute, of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, only approximately 35 percent are over the age of 65. 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 form 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 detectable amount of hearing loss in one or both ears.
Although hearing loss is prevalent spanning all age groups, the severity of hearing loss does have the tendency to increase with age. Whereas only around 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 about 50 percent for adults aged 75 and older.
The causes of hearing loss
Hearing loss is remarkably prevalent (both in the US and all around the world), impacts all age groups, and has grown to be more prevalent as time passes. What’s the cause behind this trend?
There are numerous causes, but the two leading causes of hearing loss are exposure to loud sound and the aging process.
Regarding sound exposure, the NIDCD estimates that roughly 15 percent of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 suffer with hearing loss as a result of exposure to loud sounds at the job or during leisure activities.
The World Health Organization has also estimated that 1.1 billion teens and young adults globally are in danger of developing hearing loss from the use of personal audio devices played at extreme volumes.
In regard to aging, the population of those aged 65 years and older is expanding, and hearing loss is more common among this group.
Can hearing aids help?
The best 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 techniques that can safeguard your hearing.
But what happens if you already suffer from hearing loss?
Fortunately, owing to the developments in technology and hearing healthcare, nearly all cases of hearing loss can be treated. And contrary 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 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 consumers with hearing aids four years of age or less, 78.6% were satisfied with their hearing aid performance.
The numbers speak for themselves, and your chances of developing hearing loss are regretfully quite high. But the statistics also show that, even in the event that you have hearing loss, the chances are very good that you’ll benefit greatly from wearing hearing aids.
Whether you need tailor made ear protection to avoid 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 varieties of hearing loss and can help find the ideal solution for you.