Hearing loss affects nearly 50 million Americans. This includes 1 in 5 teenagers and 60% of returning veterans from foreign wars. It is a pervasive problem, but one that is not always taken very seriously. Hearing loss is often viewed as a normal part of aging, or someone else’s problem — this person mumbles or that restaurant has gotten too loud. Often, it is ignored for years due to stigma or denial, or just plain refusal to acknowledge a problem. For many, it seems easier to simply ignore it and withdraw than to take action to treat the hearing loss and continue with one’s lively and fulfilling life.
But recent studies indicate hearing loss cannot be ignored. Hearing loss is associated with many deadly diseases, depression, a higher risk of falls, and even dementia. My advice – know the facts and get treatment.
Hearing Loss Prevalence – Not Just For The Old
- According to the World Health Organization, 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss.
- There are 48 million people in the US with hearing loss, yet only 2 million consider themselves Deaf, using sign language as their primary mode of communication.
- One in 5 teenagers has hearing loss. This study was published in 2010, so the numbers are probably higher today.
- 60% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan come home with hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Hearing loss and tinnitus are the #1 and #2 most prevalent war wounds.
- According to the Better Hearing Institute, 65% of people with hearing loss are below age 65.
- About 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.
- On average, it takes seven to 10 years before someone with hearing loss seeks treatment for it.
Hearing Loss Is Associated With Many Health Problems
- Hearing loss is associated with a higher risk of falls. People with a mild hearing loss are nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling. Each additional 10-decibels of loss increases the chances of falling by 1.4 times.
- Hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes. Among people with pre-diabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30 percent higher than in those with normal blood glucose levels.
- Those with even mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia and this likelihood increases with higher degrees of hearing loss.
- Hearing loss is linked to accelerated brain tissue loss.
- There is a high correlation between hearing loss and cardiovascular disease.
- Roughly 10 percent of the U.S. adult population, or about 25 million Americans, has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year. Hearing loss occurs in 90% of tinnitus cases.
Want more facts? Check out these helpful links.
- Quick Statistics – National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
- Basic Facts About Hearing Loss – Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)
- Facts About Hearing Loss – Center For Hearing & Communication
- Hearing Loss & Tinnitus Statistics – Hearing Health Foundation
- Prevalence of Hearing Loss – Better Hearing Institute
- Prevalence and Incidence of Hearing Loss in Children – American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
- Self-Reported Hearing Trouble in Adults Aged 18 and Over – Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Readers, do you know the facts about hearing loss?