Everything you need to know about Hearing Loss & Difficulty Hearing

Hearing loss is a condition that affects many more of us than we may think. Whether you have difficulty hearing, your grandparent does, or the person who helps you at the grocery store every week, it’s prevalent. That’s why all of us at Longmont Hearing and Tinnitus Center think it’s important to get a little education about hearing loss, so that we can all be more helpful to each other as we move through our days. In this post, we’d like to go over signs of hearing loss, as well as statistics on who is impacted by difficulty hearing. If you think you or a loved one may be experiencing hearing loss, we can help! Set up an appointment with us, and we’ll do all that’s necessary to discover what’s going on.

Common Signs of Hearing Loss

  • Asking people to repeat themselves often
  • Difficulty hearing over background noise
  • The feeling that people mumble when they speak
  • Struggling to hear on the phone
  • Turning the volume too loud for others when watching TV
  • Pulling away from once-loved hobbies and/or social activities

Have you noticed any of this in yourself, your partner, or a loved one? Don’t ignore the signs! Recent studies have shown a link between hearing loss and dementia, so the sooner you address your difficulty hearing, the better your chances of staying healthy and strong mentally. 

Hearing Loss: Impact

The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural. Causes can be: age, noise exposure, inner ear blood circulation, inner ear fluid disturbances, or problems with the hearing nerve. For adults, disabling hearing loss is considered hearing loss greater than 40 dB (decibels) in the stronger hearing ear. 

In the US:

  • 2.8 million adults (1.1% of the population) are not able to hear shouting in a quiet room, this is considered severe-to-profound hearing loss.1 
  • Three in five people have a close family member with moderate to profound hearing loss.2
  • Seven in 10 people know where to get their hearing tested, but only four in 10 have had their hearing tested in the last two years.2
  • On average, people with hearing loss wait 6 years to get their hearing tested.3
  • Untreated hearing loss costs more than $100 billion annually.4

As we’ve mentioned before, untreated hearing loss or difficulty hearing can impact a person’s brain health, but it also has an effect on their balance, speech, cardiovascular health, and overall quality of life.5 So, who does hearing loss affect and what’s the prevalence of the condition in the US and around the world?

Hearing Loss Affects People of All Ages Around the World

  • According to the World Health Association(WHO):
    • Disabling hearing loss affects 466 million people worldwide6 
    • More than 1 billion young people (12-35 years) are at risk of hearing loss due to recreational exposure to loud sounds.6 
    • By 2050 over 900 million people — or 1 in every 10 people — will have disabling hearing loss.6 
  • Hearing loss is the second most prevalent global health issue, affecting more people than those with Parkinson’s, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes combined.7 
  • According to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), hearing loss impacts almost 50 million Americans.8 
  • According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
    • 15% of people in the United States over the age of 18 years report some level of hearing loss9 
    • One in every three people 65 years of age and one in every two people 75 years of age and over has hearing loss10 
  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, an estimated three in 1,000 infants are born in the US each year with moderate, severe, or profound hearing loss, resulting in delayed development in language, learning, and speech. Hearing loss is the most common congenital condition in the US.11 

Clearly, hearing loss is impacting people all over the world, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to get help! First of all, being diagnosed is essential. There are also great communication strategies that can help you and those around you communicate better. We’re here for you and want to help, so if you have any questions about difficulty hearing, give us a call

References:
1: Mahboubi, H. et al (2017). Prevalence, Characteristics, and Treatment Patterns of Hearing Difficulty in the United States. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online November 22, 2017.
2: The State of Hearing Report, conducted by Edelman for Cochlear, December 2018. 
3: Hearing Industries Association. MT10 MarkeTrak 10 Base Report. Washington, DC: Marketing Research, Inc. March 27, 2019.
4: Kochkin S. The Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss on Household Income [Internet]. Better Hearing Institute; c2005 [cited 13 Dec 2019]. 
5: Brody, J.E. (2018, December 31). Hearing Loss Threatens Mind, Life and Limb.
6: Deafness and Hearing Loss Fact Sheet [Internet]. World Health Organization; c2019 [cited Dec 2019]. 
7: Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Statistics [Internet]. Hearing Health Foundation; c2019 [cited 13 Dec 2019]. 
8: Hearing Loss Fact Sheet [Internet]. Hearing Loss Association of America; c2019 [cited 13 Dec 2019]. 
9: Quick Statistics About Hearing [Internet]. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders; c2016 [cited 13 Dec 2019].

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