Far too often, we hear people say that hearing loss only impacts “old people,” that it’s just part of getting old, or that it’s generally an uncommon ailment.
These remarks couldn’t be further from the facts.
Here are statistics you should know about:
Prevalence of hearing loss in the US
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 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 undiagnosed and untreated. As a result, the probability that you know someone with hearing loss or suffer from hearing loss yourself is, unfortunately, very high.
Additionally, 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 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
Even if 1 out of 5 individuals in the US has some amount of hearing loss, we’re still only speaking about older people, right?
This is a prevalent 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 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 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 brackets, the extent of hearing loss does tend to increase with age. Whereas 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, around 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 common (both in the US and across the globe), impacts all age groups, and has come to be more prevalent over time. What’s the cause behind this trend?
There are several causes, but the two chief causes of hearing loss are direct exposure to loud sound and the aging process.
Concerning 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 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 across the world are at risk of developing hearing loss from the use of personal audio devices played at excess 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.
Do hearing aids help?
The best defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Evading loud noise, increasing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and wearing custom-made ear protection are three techniques that can safeguard your hearing.
But what if you currently have hearing loss?
Fortunately, due to the advancements in technology and hearing health care, nearly 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 current study by the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that hearing aids (three prominent 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 many years of research, concluded that “studies have shown that users are quite satisfied with their hearing aids.”
Likewise, 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 developing hearing loss are unfortunately quite high. But the numbers also demonstrate that, even if you have hearing loss, the chances are very good that you’ll benefit greatly from wearing hearing aids.
Whether you are looking for tailor made ear protection to prevent 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.