10 Facts You Need To Know About Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a very common problem and affects more people than you might think. Despite being a hugely prolific problem across the world, many people fail to seek help for their hearing loss, resulting in unnecessary hearing loss and a decreased quality of life. To help raise awareness of hearing loss, and to improve education around the subject, here are 10 facts that you need to know.
466 million people have disabling hearing loss
The World Health Organization estimates that 466 million people around the world have a disabling form of hearing loss – that equates to 6.1% of the total world population! Hearing loss is extremely common, and yet it is treated as though it doesn’t exist. Unless something is done to help stop hearing loss, then the WHO estimates that this number will continue to grow, rising to 630 million by 2030 and to over 900 million in 2050.
1 in 3 people over 65 live with hearing loss
Approximately a third of people over 65 suffer from hearing loss. Hearing loss becomes increasingly likely as you age due to the degeneration of the hair cells that line the inner ear. With more people living to a ripe old age, hearing loss is likely to continue to rise in the aging population.
34 million of those with hearing loss are under 15
Although hearing loss is often associated with the elderly, it can strike at any age, and approximately 34 million cases of hearing loss in 2018 were in children under the age of 15. Hearing loss can be caused by a number of things, one of which is exposure to loud noises. With more children accessing music and media through smartphones and tablets, this could be one explanation for the rise in hearing loss in this demographic.
Mild hearing loss can cause a child to miss 50% of their classroom discussions
Hearing loss in children can have a serious knock-on effect on their learning and so it’s very important that it is diagnosed as early as possible. The WHO estimates that a child with mild hearing loss will miss half of their classroom discussions over the course of the school year.
Noise is the leading cause of hearing loss
Exposure to loud noise is the leading cause of hearing loss. Although preventable, noise-induced hearing loss is permanent and it can occur over time without an individual knowing. Exposure to a noisy subway for 15 minutes each day is enough to cause hearing damage, as is listening to music at loud volumes.
4 out of 5 people who could benefit from a hearing aid don’t wear one
Despite hearing aids providing dramatic improvement to the hearing of those with hearing loss, only 1 in 5 people with hearing loss wear a hearing aid and 15 million people in the US alone actively avoid getting the help they need.
People with hearing loss wait an average of 7 years before getting help
Because hearing loss can be very gradual, it can take a long time for people to realize that they have lost their hearing to a significant degree. It takes the average person 7 years to get help, by which point their hearing has often deteriorated to a life-altering stage.
Only 16% of physicians routinely check their patients hearing
One of the reasons why it often takes so long for people to get help with their hearing loss is because they don’t know that they have it. Physicians only routinely check the hearing of their patients in 16 out of every 100 cases, potentially missing dozens of people with hearing loss who could have benefited from help.
Tinnitus is a form of hearing loss
Tinnitus, ringing in the ears, is also a form of hearing loss and affects 50 million people in the United States alone. Tinnitus can be both temporary and chronic and of the 50 million people who have it in the US, roughly 20 million people have a chronic case.
People with hearing loss will automatically learn to speech read
Speechreading is the now more commonly used term for lip reading and can help those with hearing loss to follow conversations. Approximately 40 % of speech is visible, which can dramatically help those with hearing loss and who struggle to hear. Although speechreading is a skill that can be learned, many people with hearing loss begin to learn it automatically and subconsciously as a coping mechanism.
As you can see, hearing loss is both a common and serious issue in the US and throughout the world and millions of people are missing out on getting the help that they need.