Far too many times, we hear people say that hearing loss only applies to “old people,” that it’s just a natural part of getting 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 United States
Hearing loss, to some degree, 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 entire 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 likelihood that you know someone with hearing loss or suffer from hearing loss yourself is, regrettably, very high.
Additionally, from 2000 to 2015, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled, and around the globe the number is up by 44 percent. This makes hearing loss the second most widespread health issue in the world. 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 individuals in the US has some amount of hearing loss, we’re still only talking about older people, right?
This is a common myth, but the answer is an unmistakable no.
According to the Better Hearing Institute, of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, only around 35 percent are 65 years of age or older. 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 form of hearing loss.
- 1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40) already have hearing loss.
- 1.4 million children (18 or younger) have hearing problems.
- 2-3 out of 1,000 infants are born with a perceptible amount of hearing loss in one or both ears.
Although hearing loss is prevalent spanning all age brackets, the severity of hearing loss does tend to increase with age. While 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 highly widespread (both in the US and around the globe), affects all age groups, and has grown to be more widespread with time. What’s the cause behind all of this?
There are many causes, but the two central causes of hearing loss are exposure to loud sound and the aging process.
In terms of sound exposure, the NIDCD estimates that roughly 15 percent of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 are afflicted by hearing loss as a result of exposure to loud sounds on the job or during leisure activities.
The World Health Organization has also reported that 1.1 billion teens and young adults across the globe 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 individuals aged 65 years and older is expanding, and hearing loss is more prevalent among this group.
Can hearing aids help?
The prime defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Evading loud noise, maximizing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and wearing custom-made ear protection are three strategies that can conserve your hearing.
But what happens if you already have hearing loss?
Fortunately, thanks to the improvements in technology and hearing healthcare, essentially all cases of hearing loss can be treated. And compared with 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 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 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 acquiring 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 tailor-made ear protection to protect against hearing loss or a new set 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 ideal treatment for you.