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

These statements couldn’t be further from the truth.

Here are statistics you should know about:

Prevalence of hearing loss in the United States

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 lived in the same state, its population would be larger than the whole state of California by 10 million individuals.

1 out of every 5 people in the US has some form of hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is undiagnosed and untreated. So, the probability that you know someone with hearing loss or suffer from hearing loss yourself is, regrettably, relatively high.

Additionally, from 2000 to 2015, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled, and worldwide the number is up by 44 percent. This makes hearing loss the second most widespread health problem around the globe. 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 people in the US has some level of hearing loss, we’re still only speaking about older people, correct?

This is a prevailing 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. 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 type 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 amount of hearing loss in one or both ears.

While hearing loss is commonplace spanning all age brackets, the intensity of hearing loss does have the tendency to increase with age. Whereas only around 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 around 50 percent for adults aged 75 and older.

The causes of hearing loss

Hearing loss is extremely common (both in the US and across the world), affects all age groups, and has become more prevalent with time. What’s the cause behind this trend?

There are many causes, but the two chief causes of hearing loss are direct 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 are afflicted by hearing loss as a consequence of exposure to loud sounds at work or during leisure activities.

The World Health Organization has also estimated that 1.1 billion teens and young adults internationally 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 widespread 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 using customized ear protection are three techniques that can conserve your hearing.

But what if you already suffer from hearing loss?

Fortunately, because of the innovations in technology and hearing healthcare, just about all cases of hearing loss can be treated. And contrary to 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 types tested) 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 studying 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 people with hearing aids four years of age or less, 78.6% were satisfied with their hearing aid performance.

The statistics speak for themselves, and your chances of acquiring hearing loss are unfortunately 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 require custom ear protection to prevent 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 ideal 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.

Medical information dates as new research comes out all the time - if you have a concern about your hearing, please call us.

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