Far too many times, we hear people claim 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 statements 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, 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 lived in the same state, its population would be larger than the whole state of California by 10 million people.
1 out of every 5 people in the US has some type of hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is unknown and untreated. As a result, the probability that you know someone with hearing loss or suffer from hearing loss yourself is, unfortunately, relatively high.
In addition, 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 problem around the world. 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 extent of hearing loss, we’re still only referring to older people, right?
This is a common myth, but the response is an unequivocal no.
According to the Better Hearing Institute, of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, only about 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 degree 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 perceptible degree of hearing loss in one or both ears.
Although hearing loss is typical spanning all age brackets, the severity of hearing loss does have the tendency to increase with age. Whereas only about 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss, the rate grows to 8.5 percent for adults aged 55 to 64, about 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 prevalent (both in the US and around the globe), affects all age groups, and has come to be more widespread with time. What’s the cause behind this trend?
There are numerous 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 suffer 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 internationally are at risk of developing hearing loss from the use of personal audio devices played at excessive volumes.
Regarding aging, the population of those aged 65 years and older is increasing, and hearing loss is more prevalent among this group.
Do hearing aids help?
The greatest defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Staying away from loud noise, increasing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and wearing custom ear protection are three tactics that can salvage your hearing.
But what happens if you already suffer from hearing loss?
Fortunately, thanks to the advances in technology and hearing health care, just about all cases of hearing loss can be treated. And compared with 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 found that hearing aids (three popular 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 observed the benefits: The National Center for Biotechnology Information, after evaluating 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 odds of developing hearing loss are regretfully quite high. But the statistics also demonstrate that, even if you have hearing loss, the chances are very good that you’ll benefit greatly from wearing hearing aids.
Whether you are looking for custom 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 types of hearing loss and can help find the ideal treatment for you.