Quick Statistics About Hearing Loss
- Approximately 17 percent (36 million) of American adults report some degree of hearing loss.
- There is a strong relationship between age and reported hearing loss: 18 percent of American adults 45-64 years old, 30 percent of adults 65-74 years old, and 47 percent of adults 75 years old or older have a hearing impairment.
- The NIDCD estimates that approximately 15 percent (26 million) of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud sounds or noise at work or in leisure activities.
Many people suffer from hearing loss...
In fact, the latest available statistics show that over 10% of the U.S. population reports difficulty hearing! That's over 31 million people! And as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, that number promises to increase dramatically!
- 3 in 10 people over age 60 have hearing loss;
- 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59), or 14.6%, have a hearing problem;
- 1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40), or 7.4%, already have hearing loss;
- At least 1.4 million children (18 or younger) have hearing problems;
- It is estimated that 3 in 1,000 infants are born with serious to profound hearing loss.
In addition, studies have linked untreated hearing loss to emotional, physical, mental, psychological and even economic disadvantages! And, to make matters even worse, there are many "myths" about hearing loss that prevent those with hearing loss from doing anything about it.
Causes of Hearing Loss
One of the most common "myths" about hearing loss is that only "old people" suffer from it! In fact, the reverse is true! The majority (65%) of people with hearing loss are younger than 65 and six million people in the U.S. between 18 and 44 suffer from hearing loss (Better Hearing Institute website).
The truth is that there are several causes of hearing loss with "exposure to noise" ranking high among the reasons. The primary causes of hearing loss are:
- Exposure to noise
- Aging process
- Head trauma
Types of Hearing Loss
Not all hearing loss can be corrected through the use of hearing aids or alternative listening devices. The type of hearing loss determines the specific treatment required.
There are four types of hearing loss:
- Sensorineural: This type of hearing loss comprises 90% of all cases and is the type most commonly treated by hearing aids. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when damage or trauma affects the nerve endings in the inner ear or along the nerve pathways to the brain.
- Conductive: Conductive hearing loss is caused by physical obstructions or abnormalities, which block or inhibit the efficient entry of sound waves from getting deeper into the ear. The result is an overall lowering of volume and an inability to hear faint sounds.
- Mixed: Sensorineural and Conductive hearing loss occur simultaneously in the same ear.
- Central: A rare form of hearing impairment resulting from damage to the auditory nerve or the brain pathways leading to it, as well as lesions on the brainstem.
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