Far too frequently, we hear people claim that hearing loss only affects “old people,” that it’s just part of growing 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, 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 individuals.
1 out of every 5 people in the US has some degree 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 suffer from hearing loss yourself is, regrettably, very 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 common health issue around the globe. 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
Although 1 out of 5 people in the US has some extent of hearing loss, we’re still only talking about older people, right?
This is a prevailing myth, but the answer is an uncontestable 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 suffer from 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 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 widespread throughout all age groups, the intensity of hearing loss does tend to increase with age. While only about 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have debilitating 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 prevalent (both in the US and across the globe), impacts all age groups, and has grown to be more prevalent as time passes. What’s the cause behind all of this?
There are many causes, but the two primary causes of hearing loss are direct exposure to loud sound and the aging process.
With respect to 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 consequence of exposure to loud sounds at work or during leisure activities.
The World Health Organization has also reported that 1.1 billion teens and young adults around the world are in danger of developing hearing loss from the use of personal audio devices played at excessive volumes.
Regarding aging, the population of individuals aged 65 years and older is increasing, and hearing loss is more common among this group.
Can hearing aids help?
The greatest defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Evading loud noise, maximizing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and using custom ear protection are three strategies that can conserve your hearing.
But what if you currently suffer from hearing loss?
Fortunately, because of the innovations in technology and hearing healthcare, practically all cases of hearing loss can be treated. And distinct from the hearing aids of 10-15 years ago, today’s hearing aids have proven to be 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 acknowledged the benefits: The National Center for Biotechnology Information, after going over 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 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 are looking for custom 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 right treatment for you.