Contributed by Joy Victory, managing editor, Healthy Hearing Last updated 2021-03-15T00:00:00-05:00
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:
Hearing loss statistics
Hearing loss facts in general
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Nearly 16% of adults in the U.S. report hearing trouble.
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
About 11% of Americans report tinnitus, or ringing in the ears
Prevalence 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
Less than half (46%) of adults who reported trouble hearing had seen a healthcare provider for their hearing in the past 5 years, the CDC reports in the NIHL report mentioned above.
Surveys from numerous health organizations have found that hearing aids are under-used, with cost and stigma being top reasons people don't wear them. For example, a 2020 survey of 644 adults 55+ by SeniorLiving.org revealed the that more than 38% of older adults with hearing loss who don't use hearing aids labeled cost as the biggest reason for avoiding the devices. That equates to about 6.6 million people.
Related health conditions
Ear Infections: Five out of six children experience an ear infection by the time they are three years old.
Diabetes: Hearing loss is twice as common in people who have diabetes than in those without.
Tinnitus: 25% of American adults have experienced tinnitus lasting for at least five minutes in the past year.
The good news? Hearing aids not only help you hear better, hearing aids have health benefits, as well. The statistics tell the story of just how much hearing loss impacts our lives, relationships and careers. Find more information here on our website and, when you are ready to get help, visit our directory of hearing healthcare professionals to find a hearing aid clinic near you and make the call.
Joy Victory, managing editor, Healthy Hearing
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.