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

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, 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 degree 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, regrettably, very high.

Additionally, from 2000 to 2015, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled, and around the world the number is up by 44 percent. This makes hearing loss the second most common health disorder worldwide. In fact, those living with hearing loss exceed in number 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 speaking about older people, right?

This is a prevalent 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 65 years of age or older. More than 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 noticeable amount of hearing loss in one or both ears.

While hearing loss is commonplace throughout all age brackets, the severity of hearing loss does have the tendency to increase with age. Whereas only around 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling 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 about 50 percent for adults aged 75 and older.

The causes of hearing loss

Hearing loss is highly widespread (both in the US and across the globe), affects all age groups, and has grown to be more widespread with time. What’s the cause behind this trend?

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

Regarding sound exposure, the NIDCD estimates that roughly 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 work 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 higher volumes.

In regard to aging, the population of those aged 65 years and older is growing, and hearing loss is more widespread among this group.

Do hearing aids help?

The greatest 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 spare your hearing.

But what if you currently have hearing loss?

Fortunately, thanks to the advances in technology and hearing health care, 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 current study by the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered 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 noticed the benefits: The National Center for Biotechnology Information, after evaluating 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 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 regretfully quite high. But the statistics also demonstrate that, even in the event that you have hearing loss, the chances are very good that you’ll benefit greatly from wearing hearing aids.

Whether you require customized 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 right treatment for you.