Far too frequently, we hear people state that hearing loss only affects “old people,” that it’s just a natural part of growing old, or that it’s generally an uncommon condition.
These remarks 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 degree, 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 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. As a result, the odds that you know someone with hearing loss or have hearing loss yourself is, unfortunately, relatively 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 widespread health issue globally. This truth is, those living with hearing loss outnumber those living with Parkinson’s, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes combined.
Hearing loss by age group
Although 1 out of 5 individuals in the US has some level of hearing loss, we’re still only speaking about older people, right?
This is a prevalent myth, but the response is an unequivocal no.
According to the Better Hearing Institute, of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, only around 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 problems.
- 2-3 out of 1,000 infants are born with a noticeable degree of hearing loss in one or both ears.
Although hearing loss is widespread across all age brackets, the severity of hearing loss does have the tendency to increase with age. While only about 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling 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 about 50 percent for adults aged 75 and older.
The causes of hearing loss
Hearing loss is remarkably prevalent (both in the US and across the globe), affects all age groups, and has come to be more prevalent with time. What’s the cause behind this trend?
There are numerous causes, but the two primary 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 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 across the world are at risk of developing hearing loss from the use of personal music players played at excess 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 prime defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Keeping away from loud noise, increasing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and wearing customized ear protection are three strategies that can spare your hearing.
But what if you already have hearing loss?
Fortunately, owing to the advances in technology and hearing healthcare, nearly 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 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 noted the benefits: The National Center for Biotechnology Information, after going over 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 odds of developing hearing loss are regretfully quite high. But the numbers also demonstrate that, even in the event that you have hearing loss, the chances are very good that you’ll benefit greatly from wearing hearing aids.
Whether you require custom 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 degrees of hearing loss and can help find the right solution for you.