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Statistics and facts about hearing loss

Hearing loss facts to inspire understanding + action

Hearing loss facts on noise exposureHearing loss affects 48 million people in the United States. Hearing loss can occur at birth or can develop at any age. There have been many advances in all aspects of hearing health care so that from the youngest infant to the eldest senior citizen, there are new and exciting options available to help.

Treatment options vary depending on the degree or type of hearing loss, age of onset and individual lifestyle needs. If you suspect that you or a family member has a hearing loss, the best place to start is with a hearing evaluation by a licensed audiologist.

We hope these hearing loss facts – some of which may surprise you – expand your understanding of hearing loss and inspire you to take action!

Hearing loss: Prevalence

  • 48 million Americans have a significant hearing loss
  • 1 out of 3 people over age 65 have some degree of hearing loss
  • 2 out of 3 people over 75 have a hearing loss
  • 14% of those ages 45-64 have some type of hearing loss
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) affects 50 million people in the United States.

Hearing loss facts: Children

  • Approximately 3 million children in the U.S. have a hearing loss; 1.3 million of them are under the age of three
  • Hearing loss occurs in 5 out of every 1,000 newborns
  • Babies are never too young to have their hearing tested
  • With early identification and appropriate services, deaf children can develop communication skills at the same rate as their hearing peers
  • Over 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents
  • 15% of children between the ages of 6-19 have a measurable hearing loss in at least one ear
  • A mild hearing loss can cause a child to miss as much as 50% of classroom discussion

Hearing loss facts: Treatment

  • Hearing aids can offer dramatic improvement for most people with hearing loss
  • People with hearing loss wait an average of 7 years before seeking help
  • 15 million people in the United States with hearing loss avoid seeking help
  • Only 16% of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss
  • Speechreading is the more current word for lipreading

Hearing loss facts: Noise exposure

  • Noise is one of the leading causes of hearing loss
  • Noise-induced hearing loss, while preventable, is permanent
  • Exposure to a noisy subway, for just 15 minutes a day over time, can cause permanent damage to hearing over time
  • Listening to music on a smartphone at high volumes over time can cause permanent damage to hearing.

Types of hearing loss

A conductive hearing loss indicates that there is a problem with the mechanism that conducts sound from the environment to the inner ear. Problems in the external auditory canal (outer ear), ear drum or the bones of hearing (the middle ear) may cause a conductive loss. This type of loss can often be corrected by medication or surgery. If it cannot be corrected, the individual can usually do very well with a hearing aid.

A sensorineural hearing loss indicates a problem in the organ of hearing or the nerve of hearing. There may be damage to the cochlea (inner ear), auditory nerve, or the auditory centers of the brain. An individual with a sensorineural hearing loss may benefit from a hearing aid, cochlear implant, communication therapies, other medical management depending on the degree of the loss or the cause of the loss.

learn more + take action

For more facts and figures about hearing loss, visit the Hearing Health Foundation website. It’s a terrific resource for statistics as well as information about the latest research on hearing loss.

Elsewhere on our website you can access more information on topics related to hearing loss in seniors, hearing loss in children, noise-induced hearing loss, hearing protection, hearing testing and treatment.

If you live in the New York or Ft. Lauderdale area, visit the Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC) for all your hearing health care needs – including a free hearing screening, hearing aid consultation, custom hearing protection and more. Click the links below to learn more about us and request an appointment.

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We hope these hearing loss facts will help you make more informed decisions about your hearing health needs or that of a loved one.