Far too frequently, we hear people assert that hearing loss only impacts “old people,” that it’s just a natural part of growing old, or that it’s generally an uncommon condition.
These statements 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 individuals.
1 out of every 5 people in the US has some form of hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is undiagnosed and untreated. So, the likelihood that you know someone with hearing loss or suffer from hearing loss yourself is, regrettably, very 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 common health disorder around the world. 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 level of hearing loss, we’re still only referring to 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 about 35 percent are over the age of 65. More than 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 difficulty.
- 2-3 out of 1,000 infants are born with a detectable degree of hearing loss in one or both ears.
While hearing loss is common throughout all age groups, the severity of hearing loss does tend to increase with age. While only about 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss, the rate grows to 8.5 percent for adults aged 55 to 64, about 25 percent for adults aged 65 to 74, and about 50 percent for adults aged 75 and older.
The causes of hearing loss
Hearing loss is highly prevalent (both in the US and all around the globe), impacts all age groups, and has grown to be more prevalent with time. What’s the cause behind all of this?
There are numerous causes, but the two primary causes of hearing loss are exposure to loud sound and the aging process.
As for 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 workplace 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 elevated volumes.
In regard to 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 ideal defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Keeping away from loud noise, increasing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and wearing custom made ear protection are three strategies that can save your hearing.
But what if you currently suffer from hearing loss?
Fortunately, because of the advances in technology and hearing healthcare, essentially 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 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 assessing 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 numbers speak for themselves, and your odds of developing hearing loss are regretfully quite high. But the statistics 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 custom made 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 types of hearing loss and can help find the ideal treatment for you.