The Alarming Hearing Loss Statistics You Need to Know About

Atlanta Hearing Associates' Blog.

Far too often, 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 comments 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 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 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 kind of hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is unknown and untreated. As a result, the chances 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 internationally the number is up by 44 percent. This makes hearing loss the second most common health problem 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

Although 1 out of 5 people in the US has some amount of hearing loss, we’re still only referring to older people, correct?

This is a prevalent myth, but the answer is an unequivocal no.

According to the Better Hearing Institute, of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, only approximately 35 percent are over the age of 65. 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 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 amount of hearing loss in one or both ears.

Although hearing loss is commonplace spanning all age groups, the severity of hearing loss does tend to increase with age. While only around 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have debilitating hearing loss, the rate rises 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 exceedingly common (both in the US and around the globe), impacts all age groups, and has become more prevalent over time. What’s the cause behind this trend?

There are several causes, but the two central causes of hearing loss are direct exposure to loud sound and the aging process.

With respect to sound exposure, the NIDCD estimates that approximately 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 globally are at risk of developing hearing loss from the use of personal audio devices 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 widespread among this group.

Can hearing aids help?

The ideal defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Staying clear of loud noise, maximizing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and using custom ear protection are three tactics that can conserve your hearing.

But what happens if you currently have hearing loss?

Fortunately, thanks to the developments in technology and hearing health care, practically 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 highly effective.

A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that hearing aids (three prominent models tested) 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 analyzing many years of research, concluded that “studies have shown that users are quite satisfied with their hearing aids.”

Likewise, 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 show that, even if you currently have hearing loss, the chances that you’ll benefit from using hearing aids is very high

Whether you require custom made 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.

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.