Far too many times, we hear people assert that hearing loss only affects “old people,” that it’s just part of growing old, or that it’s generally an uncommon ailment.
These statements couldn’t be further from the truth.
Here are statistics you should know about:
Prevalence of hearing loss in the United States
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 lived in the same state, its population would be larger than the entire state of California by 10 million individuals.
1 out of every 5 people in the US has some amount of hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is unknown and untreated. Which means, the likelihood that you know someone with hearing loss or have hearing loss yourself is, unfortunately, very high.
In addition, 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 prevalent health issue globally. 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
Even if 1 out of 5 people in the US has some level of hearing loss, we’re still only speaking about older people, correct?
This is a widespread myth, but the response is an definitive 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 suffer from hearing loss. Of those:
- 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59) have some degree 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 detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.
Although hearing loss is prevalent across all age brackets, the extent of hearing loss does have the tendency to increase with age. While only around 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 about 50 percent for adults aged 75 and older.
The causes of hearing loss
Hearing loss is exceedingly widespread (both in the US and across the globe), affects all age groups, and has come to be more prevalent as time passes. What’s the cause behind all of this?
There are many causes, but the two main causes of hearing loss are direct exposure to loud sound and the aging process.
Concerning sound exposure, the NIDCD estimates that approximately 15 percent of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 suffer with hearing loss due to 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 across the world are at an increased risk of developing hearing loss from the use of personal audio devices played at high volumes.
Regarding aging, the population of those aged 65 years and older is expanding, and hearing loss is more prevalent among this group.
Do hearing aids help?
The optimal defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Staying clear of loud noise, maximizing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and wearing custom ear protection are three strategies that can conserve your hearing.
But what happens if you currently suffer from hearing loss?
Fortunately, due to the developments in technology and hearing health care, virtually all cases of hearing loss can be treated. And in contrast to the hearing aids of 10-15 years ago, modern day hearing aids have proven to be effective.
A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that hearing aids (three popular types examined) 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 assessing many 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 consumers 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 chances of developing hearing loss are unfortunately quite high. But the numbers also show that, even if you currently have hearing loss, the chances that you’ll benefit from wearing hearing aids is very high
Whether you need 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 degrees of hearing loss and can help find the right solution for you.