Far too many times, we hear people state that hearing loss only applies to “old people,” that it’s just a natural part of growing old, or that it’s generally an uncommon ailment.
These comments 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, 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 entire state of California by 10 million people.
1 out of every 5 people in the US has some degree of hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is undiagnosed and untreated. So, the odds that you know someone with hearing loss or have hearing loss yourself is, regrettably, relatively high.
Additionally, from 2000 to 2015, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled, and globally the number is up by 44 percent. This makes hearing loss the second most widespread health problem worldwide. 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
Even if 1 out of 5 people in the US has some level of hearing loss, we’re still only referring to older people, correct?
This is a accepted myth, but the answer is an definitive 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. Well over 30 million Americans under the age of 65 have hearing loss. Of those:
- 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59) have some amount 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 degree of hearing loss in one or both ears.
While hearing loss is common across all age brackets, the intensity of hearing loss does tend to increase with age. Whereas only around 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 highly prevalent (both in the US and around the world), impacts all age groups, and has become more widespread as time passes. What’s the cause behind all of this?
There are several causes, but the two main causes of hearing loss are direct exposure to loud sound and the aging process.
With respect to sound exposure, the NIDCD estimates that roughly 15 percent of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 are suffering from hearing loss as a consequence of 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 in danger of developing hearing loss from the use of personal music players played at excessive volumes.
Regarding aging, the population of individuals aged 65 years and older is growing, and hearing loss is more common among this group.
Do hearing aids help?
The prime defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Keeping away from loud noise, maximizing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and wearing custom-made ear protection are three tactics that can conserve your hearing.
But what if you currently have hearing loss?
Fortunately, thanks to the advancements in technology and hearing health care, just about 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 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 observed 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 data speak for themselves, and your chances of developing hearing loss are regretfully quite high. But the statistics also demonstrate that, even in the event that 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 protect against 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 treatment for you.