You Are Not Alone
Hearing Loss in the US
Hearing loss is a major public health issue in the U.S. affecting millions of people. In fact, some professionals believe that hearing loss has become an epidemic in the U.S.1 Approximately 12% of Americans have a significant hearing loss, or about 38 million people.2 Hearing loss is so common among seniors that only arthritis and hypertension affect more people.3
Research shows that one-third of people over the age of 60 and half of those over 85 have hearing loss.4 This number may be even higher since most people with hearing loss are often embarrassed and do not report it. And with the baby boomer population getting older, the number of people with hearing loss in the U.S. is expected to almost double by the year 2030.5
Hearing loss can have a big impact on a person’s quality of life, both physically and emotionally. Hearing loss has been linked to stress, depression, loneliness, reduced job performance, and reduced physical and mental health.6 Adults with hearing loss are less likely to take part in social activities and more likely to feel depressed or sad.7 People with a profound hearing loss are more likely to be unemployed, and those who are employed often make less money than people with normal hearing.8 Untreated hearing loss also has many negative effects on children.8 The average hearing 15-year-old reads at the 10th grade level, while the average 15-year-old with severe to profound hearing loss reads at only the 3rd grade level.8 In addition, attention skills are often much lower in children with hearing loss.8
The good news is that there are treatments available to help people with hearing loss, like hearing aids, cochlear implants, and direct bone conduction systems. If you think you may have a hearing loss or you have a hearing aid but feel that you are not receiving enough benefit, take our Hearing Quiz to find out what type of treatment may be best for you.
References: 1. Reuters. U.S. facing possible hearing loss epidemic – study. Available from http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/07/28/idUSN28498722. Accessed February 2012. 2. Center for Hearing and Communication. Facts About Hearing Loss. Available from http://www.chchearing.org/about-hearing-loss/facts-about-hearing-loss. Accessed February 2012. 3. University of California, San Francisco. Facts on Hearing Loss. Available from http://neurosurgery.ucsf.edu/index.php/brain_tumor_center_hearing_loss.html. Accessed February 2012. 4. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Hearing Loss and Older Adults. Available from http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/older.aspx. Accessed February 2012. 5. Let Them Hear Foundation. Facts on Hearing Loss in Adults. Available from http://www.letthemhear.org/hearing/default.php. Accessed February 2012. 6. Hear USA. Hearing Loss Facts. Available from http://www.hearusa.net/consumer/hearinghealth/hearinglossfacts.asp. Accessed February 2012. 7. American Academy of Audiology. Untreated Hearing Loss Linked to Depression, Social Isolation in Seniors. Available from http://www.audiology.org/resources/documentlibrary/Pages/UntreatedHearingLoss.aspx. Accessed February 2012. 8. Wyatt JR, Niparko JK, Rothman M, deLissovoy G. Cost Utility of the Multichannel Cochlear Implant in 258 Profoundly Deaf Individuals. Laryngoscope.1996;106:816–821.