Far too many times, we hear people claim that hearing loss only impacts “old people,” that it’s just part of growing old, or that it’s generally an uncommon condition.

These claims 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 extent, 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 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 type of hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is undiagnosed and untreated. Which means, the probability that you know someone with hearing loss or suffer from hearing loss yourself is, unfortunately, 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 prevalent health issue worldwide. In fact, 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 degree of hearing loss, we’re still only talking about older people, correct?

This is a common myth, but the response is an definitive 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. 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 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 issues.
  • 2-3 out of 1,000 infants are born with a noticeable amount of hearing loss in one or both ears.

While hearing loss is prevalent throughout 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 extremely widespread (both in the US and across the globe), affects all age groups, and has grown to be more prevalent with time. What’s the cause behind all of this?

There are numerous causes, but the two chief causes of hearing loss are exposure to loud sound and the aging process.

In terms of sound exposure, the NIDCD estimates that around 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 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 an increased risk of developing hearing loss from the use of personal audio devices played at high volumes.

In regard to aging, the population of individuals aged 65 years and older is increasing, and hearing loss is more common among this group.

Do hearing aids help?

The best defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Keeping away from loud noise, maximizing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and using custom made ear protection are three techniques that can conserve your hearing.

But what if you already suffer from hearing loss?

Fortunately, due to the improvements in technology and hearing healthcare, practically 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 effective.

A current study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that hearing aids (three prominent models 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 assessing 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 numbers speak for themselves, and your odds of acquiring hearing loss are regretfully quite high. But the statistics also show that, even in the event that you have hearing loss, the chances that you’ll benefit from using hearing aids is very high

Whether you are looking for tailor made ear protection to protect against 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 varieties of hearing loss and can help find the ideal solution for you.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.