Far too often, we hear people assert 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 claims couldn’t be further from the facts.
Here are statistics you need to 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 resided 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. As a result, the odds that you know someone with hearing loss or have hearing loss yourself is, unfortunately, relatively 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 disorder around 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 people in the US has some extent of hearing loss, we’re still only speaking about older people, correct?
This is a universal myth, but the response is an unequivocal no.
According to the Better Hearing Institute, of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, only approximately 35 percent are 65 years of age or older. Well over 30 million Americans under the age of 65 suffer from hearing loss. Of those:
- 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59) have some level 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.
Although hearing loss is commonplace across all age brackets, the intensity of hearing loss does have the tendency to increase with age. Whereas 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, 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 widespread (both in the US and all around the world), impacts all age groups, and has become more prevalent with time. What’s the cause behind all of this?
There are numerous causes, but the two main causes of hearing loss are exposure to loud sound and the aging process.
Regarding sound exposure, the NIDCD estimates that around 15 percent of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 suffer with hearing loss as a consequence of exposure to loud sounds at the job or during leisure activities.
The World Health Organization has also reported that 1.1 billion teens and young adults around the globe are at an increased risk of developing hearing loss from the use of personal music players played at excess 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 top defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Staying clear of loud noise, maximizing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and using personalized ear protection are three techniques that can spare your hearing.
But what if you already have hearing loss?
Fortunately, due to the improvements in technology and hearing health care, nearly all cases of hearing loss can be treated. And distinct from the hearing aids of 10-15 years ago, modern day 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 examined) are in fact generally effective, concluding that “each [hearing aid] circuit provided significant benefit in quiet and noisy listening situations.”
Patients have also noticed the benefits: The National Center for Biotechnology Information, after reviewing 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 odds of acquiring hearing loss are unfortunately quite high. But the statistics 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 are looking for custom made 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.