Far too many times, we hear people claim 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 statements couldn’t be further from the truth.
Here are statistics you need to know about:
Prevalence of hearing loss in the United States
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 people.
1 out of every 5 people in the US has some kind of hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is unknown and untreated. As a result, the likelihood that you know someone with hearing loss or suffer from 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 prevalent health issue 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 people in the US has some degree of hearing loss, we’re still only referring to older people, right?
This is a universal myth, but the answer is an definitive no.
According to the Better Hearing Institute, of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, only about 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 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 issues.
- 2-3 out of 1,000 infants are born with a noticeable degree of hearing loss in one or both ears.
While hearing loss is prevalent across all age brackets, 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 rises 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 globe), affects all age groups, and has come to be more prevalent with time. What’s the cause behind this trend?
There are several causes, but the two chief causes of hearing loss are exposure to loud sound and the aging process.
In terms of 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 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 excess volumes.
In regard to aging, the population of individuals aged 65 years and older is expanding, and hearing loss is more widespread among this group.
Do hearing aids help?
The prime defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Keeping away from loud noise, increasing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and using customized ear protection are three tactics that can salvage your hearing.
But what happens if you currently have hearing loss?
Fortunately, due to the advancements in technology and hearing health care, practically all cases of hearing loss can be treated. And unlike the hearing aids of 10-15 years ago, today’s hearing aids have proven to be highly effective.
A current study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found 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 observed the benefits: The National Center for Biotechnology Information, after examining 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 consumers 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 chances of acquiring 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 require customized 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 varieties of hearing loss and can help find the right solution for you.