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

These comments couldn’t be further from the facts.

Here are statistics you need to know about:

Prevalence of hearing loss in the United States

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 entire 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. So, the probability that you know someone with hearing loss or have hearing loss yourself is, regrettably, very 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 issue around the world. 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

Although 1 out of 5 people in the US has some amount of hearing loss, we’re still only speaking about older people, right?

This is a accepted myth, but the reply is an uncontestable 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 have 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 detectable degree of hearing loss in one or both ears.

While hearing loss is prevalent throughout all age groups, the extent 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 grows 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 highly widespread (both in the US and across the globe), affects all age groups, and has become more widespread over time. What’s the cause behind this trend?

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

Regarding 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 due to 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 worldwide 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 common among this group.

Can hearing aids help?

The optimal defense against hearing loss is protecting your ears. Keeping away from loud noise, maximizing your distance between the sources of loud noise, and using personalized ear protection are three tactics that can conserve your hearing.

But what if you already have hearing loss?

Fortunately, owing to the developments in technology and hearing health care, nearly all cases of hearing loss can be treated. And contrary to 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 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 going over 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 statistics speak for themselves, and your odds of developing hearing loss are regretfully quite high. But the statistics also show that, even if you have hearing loss, the chances that you’ll benefit from wearing hearing aids is very high

Whether you are looking for tailor made ear protection to protect against hearing loss or a new pair 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 solution for you.