Far too many times, we hear people state that hearing loss only applies to “old people,” that it’s just a natural part of growing old, or that it’s generally an uncommon condition.
These claims 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 amount, 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 lived 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. Which means, the odds that you know someone with hearing loss or have hearing loss yourself is, regrettably, 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 in the world. 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 speaking about older people, right?
This is a popular myth, but the response 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. 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 type 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 level of hearing loss in one or both ears.
While hearing loss is common across all age brackets, the intensity 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, 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 exceedingly prevalent (both in the US and across the globe), impacts all age groups, and has come to be more widespread with time. What’s the cause behind all of this?
There are many causes, but the two primary causes of hearing loss are exposure to loud sound and the aging process.
Concerning sound exposure, the NIDCD estimates that roughly 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 work or during leisure activities.
The World Health Organization has also estimated that 1.1 billion teens and young adults around the world are at risk of developing hearing loss from the use of personal music players played at high volumes.
When it comes to aging, the population of those aged 65 years and older is growing, and hearing loss is more widespread among this group.
Do hearing aids help?
The greatest defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Avoiding loud noise, increasing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and wearing Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that hearing aids (three popular models examined) are in fact generally effective, concluding that “each [hearing aid] circuit provided significant benefit in quiet and noisy listening situations.”
Patients have also noted 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.”
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 chances of developing hearing loss are unfortunately quite high. But the statistics also show that, even if you have hearing loss, the chances that you’ll benefit from wearing hearing aids is very high
Whether you need custom ear protection to prevent hearing loss or a new pair 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 treatment for you.