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

These remarks couldn’t be further from the truth.

Here are statistics you need to 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 degree of hearing loss, even if that hearing loss is undiagnosed and untreated. Which means, the odds that you know someone with hearing loss or suffer from hearing loss yourself is, regrettably, relatively high.

In addition, 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 prevalent health disorder around the globe. 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 individuals in the US has some extent of hearing loss, we’re still only speaking about older people, right?

This is a popular myth, but the reply is an incontestable 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. 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 level 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 degree of hearing loss in one or both ears.

While hearing loss is commonplace spanning all age brackets, the extent 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 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 remarkably common (both in the US and around the world), affects all age groups, and has grown to be more widespread with time. What’s the cause behind this trend?

There are numerous causes, but the two main 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 at the workplace or during leisure activities.

The World Health Organization has also estimated that 1.1 billion teens and young adults across the world are in danger 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 growing, and hearing loss is more prevalent among this group.

Can hearing aids help?

The prime 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 techniques that can salvage your hearing.

But what if you already have hearing loss?

Fortunately, due to the breakthroughs in technology and hearing health care, practically 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 current study by the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that hearing aids (three prominent types 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 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 consumers 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 odds of developing hearing loss are unfortunately quite high. But the statistics also demonstrate that, even in the event that you currently have hearing loss, the chances are very good that you’ll benefit greatly from wearing hearing aids.

Whether you require tailor made ear protection to protect against hearing loss or a new set 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 right treatment for you.