Hearing loss is common in the U.S. The good news? Hearing aid satisfaction is high, surveys show.
Contributed by Joy Victory, managing editor, Healthy Hearing Last updated 2022-12-14T00:00:00-06:00
Hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition behind arthritis and heart disease, affecting people of all ages. This is what hearing loss looks like by the numbers from a variety of sources:
About 48 million (or 14%) of Americans report some degree of hearing loss. A similar amount report tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.
Put another way, one of out of 5 men and one of out of 8 women report they have at least some trouble hearing.
The prevalence of hearing loss is twice as common as diabetes or cancer.
New Jersey had the lowest reported rates of hearing loss, and West Virginia had the highest.
Hearing loss statistics in older adults
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders states "approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing."
Age is the strongest predictor of hearing loss among adults; 91% of adults with hearing loss are aged 50 and older.
Those older than 80 have the greatest amount of hearing loss.
Adult men in their 50s are three times as likely to have hearing loss than women of the same age, but as they age, hearing loss rates become similar among the sexes.
One of the most common ways people damage their hearing is through excessive noise exposure, leading to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). About one out of every five workers is exposed to hazardous noise in the workplace. The CDC reports these numbers on NIHL:
About 40 million US adults aged 20-69 years have noise-induced hearing loss.
More than 1 in 2 US adults with hearing damage from noise do not have noisy jobs, meaning the exposure is likely recreational.
About 1 in 4 US adults who report excellent to good hearing already have hearing damage.
Stats on hearing loss in children
Approximately 3 of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable hearing loss in one or both ears. Most children in the U.S. receive newborn hearing screening.
Satisfaction with hearing instruments increases with each survey. In 2022, 83% of survey respondents in were satisfied with their hearing aids.
The average age of a person buying hearing aids is 60.
Nine out of ten people who wear hearing aids report "high satisfaction" with their hearing care providers (audiologists and hearing instrument specialists).
People wait about four years from the start of hearing difficuluties to getting their first hearing aid, a time gap that has gotten shorter (it used to be six).
Stigma has decreased over time. Compared to older surveys, far fewer people report feeling embarrassed or rejected due to their hearing aids.
Hearing loss is linked to tinnitus, cognitive deceline and balance issues
The MarkeTrak 2022 survey also found that those with hearing difficulty have higher rates of many common conditions and are over 3.5 times more likely to have tinnitus, cognition/memory issues, and falling and balance issues. PEople who don't wear hearing aids are at a greater risk of depression that increases with severity of hearing difficulty.
Joy Victory has extensive experience editing consumer health information. Her training in particular has focused on how to best communicate evidence-based medical guidelines and clinical trial results to the public. She strives to make health content accurate, accessible and engaging to the public.
Read more about Joy.