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Hearing Loss Statistics at a Glance

Contributed by Debbie Clason, staff writer, Healthy Hearing

 

Hearing loss is third most common physical condition behind arthritis and heart disease, affecting people of all ages. This is what hearing loss looks like by the numbers.

Hearing loss prevalence

According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, approximately 48 million Americans (20 percent) report some degree of hearing loss.

Adults

  • Age is the strongest predictor of hearing loss among adults ages 20-69
  • Those age 60-69 have the greatest amount of hearing loss
  • 25 percent of American adults have experienced tinnitus lasting for at least five minutes in the past year.
  • Adult men (age 20-69) are twice as likely to have hearing loss than women of the same age.
  • As women age, they have more difficulty hearing at lower frequencies than do men.

Children

  • Approximately 2-3 of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable hearing loss in one or both ears.
  • More than 90 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents
  • Fifteen percent of school-age children (6-19) have some degree of hearing loss.
  • 30 million Americans age 12 and older has hearing loss in both ears.

Hearing aid statistics

According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), approximately 28.8 million adults in the United States could benefit from wearing hearing aids.

  • 3.65 million hearing aid units were dispensed in the United States during 2016.
  • The average age of first-time hearing aid wearers is 70 years of age.
  • A large number of people wait 15 years from the time they know they have hearing loss until they purchase their first hearing aids (Better Hearing Institute)
  • Hearing aid prices range from $1,000 to $8,000 per device depending upon the level of technology they contain.
  • Of the 28.8 million Americans (age 20-69) who could benefit from wearing hearing aids, fewer than 16 percent have ever used them.
  • Of those age 70 and older who could benefit from wearing hearing aids, fewer than 30 percent have ever used them.

Financial impact

  • According to a survey by the Better Hearing Institute, hearing loss negatively impacts household income on average up to $12,000 per year. The use of hearing aids mitigates that loss by as much as 50 percent.
  • The impact of hearing loss is estimated to be more than $100 billion annually.
  • In a 15 percent tax bracket, the total cost to society in unrealized taxes is estimated to be more than $18 billion.

Related health conditions

  • Ear Infections: Five out of six children experience ear infection by the time they are three years old.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease: mild to moderate untreated hearing loss leads to cognitive decline and may be an early indicator for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Depression: Individuals with untreated hearing loss are twice as likely to be depressed than those who have normal hearing or those who wear hearing devices.
  • Hypertension: Studies suggest those with hypertension have a greater incidence of hearing loss than those without.
  • Diabetes: Hearing loss is twice as common in individuals who have diabetes than in those without.

Additional information

The statistics tell the story of just how much hearing loss impacts our lives, relationships and careers. Find more information here on our website and, when you are ready to get help, visit our directory of hearing healthcare professionals near you and make the call.

 

Debbie Clason, staff writer, Healthy Hearing

Debbie Clason holds a master's degree from Indiana University. Her impressive client list includes financial institutions, real estate developers, physicians, pharmacists and nonprofit organizations. 

Sarah Vaughan