Important Hearing Loss Statistics You Should Know

Senior woman holding her ear, thinking of hearing loss statistics

If you’ve been struggling with hearing loss or have recently started researching the condition, many current hearing loss statistics may come as a shock. Problems people face today with hearing loss are often not widely broadcast, despite hearing loss being the third most common chronic physical condition (only behind arthritis and heart disease). In fact, over 5% of the world’s population (equivalent to 430 million people) requires some type of solution to address their disabling hearing loss, with men being twice as likely as women to develop hearing loss to some degree. In the United States alone, 48 million people live with some degree of hearing loss. 

Let’s take a look at some common questions about hearing loss and what the statistics say.

Who is affected by hearing loss?

It’s often assumed that only the older generations require or will benefit from a hearing aid of some type, but this is not the case. Hearing loss statistics have shown that while hearing loss is more prevalent in older adults (91% of adults with hearing loss are aged 50 and older), this doesn’t mean that younger adults or children are immune to struggles with hearing. Those who are exposed to high levels of noise at work or listen to music at unsafe levels expose themselves to hearing damage, with over 1 billion young adults at risk of permanent hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices. Additionally, 15% of school-age children (ages 6-19) have some level of hearing loss.

Why is it important to treat hearing loss?

Hearing loss statistics have shown that untreated hearing loss often will have a negative impact on an individual’s quality of life in a variety of ways.

  • Unaddressed hearing loss poses an annual, global cost of $980 billion, the WHO estimates.
  • A mild case of hearing loss alone can cause a school-age child to miss as much as 50% of classroom discussion.
  • In older adults with hearing loss, hearing aids have been shown to increase their quality of life by reducing symptoms of depression.
  • The risk of dementia is up to five times greater—and the risk of falling three times greater—among individuals with untreated hearing loss.

Can a hearing aid help me?

Adults of all ages might not consider the fact that their hearing loss could be significantly improved through hearing aids, or even realize they have significant hearing loss. Hearing loss statistics show that while a great number of adults have hearing loss, a significant number of individuals that could benefit from hearing aids have never tried them—or haven’t even considered treating their hearing loss.

  • Approximately 28.8 million US adults could benefit from hearing aids.
  • Only 16% of US adults aged 20-69 who would benefit from hearing aids have ever tried them.
  • Approximately 80% of hearing loss cases can be treated with hearing aids, but only 1 in 4 individuals actually use them.
  • Fewer than 1 in 3 (30%) of adults over the age of 70 who could benefit from hearing aids have ever tried using them.
  • Individuals with hearing loss on average wait 7 years before seeking help with their hearing.

If you’re having concerns about your own hearing or are looking for solutions for a loved one but are unsure about what steps to take, Lexie Hearing gives individuals the opportunity to schedule a 30-minute voice or video call to talk to a hearing expert for free. During this call you can ask questions about hearing loss and hearing aids, find out if Lexie is a good fit for your hearing needs, and receive an expert recommendation for moving forward. You can also try our free online hearing test and get answers about your level of hearing loss in minutes.

B. Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and article author

Written byMarcelle Swanepoel

B. Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

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