Far too many times, we hear people assert that hearing loss only impacts “old people,” that it’s just a natural part of getting old, or that it’s generally an uncommon condition.
These remarks 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 entire state of California by 10 million individuals.
1 out of every 5 people in the US has some type of hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is undiagnosed and untreated. As a result, the odds that you know someone with hearing loss or have hearing loss yourself is, unfortunately, relatively high.
In addition, from 2000 to 2015, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled, and internationally the number is up by 44 percent. This makes hearing loss the second most widespread health disorder around the globe. In fact, 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 amount of hearing loss, we’re still only referring to older people, right?
This is a widespread myth, but the reply is an definitive 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. 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 perceptible amount of hearing loss in one or both ears.
While hearing loss is commonplace throughout all age brackets, the severity of hearing loss does have the tendency to increase with age. While only about 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss, the rate increases 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 remarkably widespread (both in the US and across the world), impacts all age groups, and has come to be more prevalent as time passes. What’s the cause behind this trend?
There are many causes, but the two leading causes of hearing loss are direct exposure to loud sound and the aging process.
With respect to sound exposure, the NIDCD estimates that around 15 percent of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 suffer from hearing loss due to exposure to loud sounds at the workplace or during leisure activities.
The World Health Organization has also reported that 1.1 billion teens and young adults across the globe are at an increased risk of developing hearing loss from the use of personal audio devices played at higher volumes.
Regarding aging, the population of individuals aged 65 years and older is expanding, and hearing loss is more prevalent among this group.
Can hearing aids help?
The greatest defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Avoiding loud noise, maximizing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and wearing custom ear protection are three strategies that can conserve your hearing.
But what happens if you currently have hearing loss?
Fortunately, because of the developments in technology and hearing health care, just about 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 recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that hearing aids (three prominent models tested) are in fact generally effective, concluding that “each [hearing aid] circuit provided significant benefit in quiet and noisy listening situations.”
Patients have also noticed 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 consumers 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 odds of developing hearing loss are regretfully quite high. But the statistics also demonstrate that, even in the event that you currently have hearing loss, the chances are very good that you’ll benefit greatly from wearing hearing aids.
Whether you need customized 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 ideal treatment for you.