Hearing Loss: the Third Most Common Health Problem in the USA

by | Oct 15, 2020 | Expert Insights, Hearing Loss, Patient Resources | 0 comments

The Centers for Disease Control report that hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the USA, trailing behind arthritis and heart disease, but more prevalent than cancer and diabetes.

However, hearing care tends to take a back seat when it comes to getting the attention it deserves.

To encourage residents of Southwest Louisiana to take hearing care more seriously, here is a look at the effects of hearing loss and its treatment.

Hearing Loss Prevalence

Hearing loss affects approximately 14.3% of the population or 38.2 million people, according to Johns Hopkins research. Breaking down those numbers further reveals some alarming information, such as:

  • 1 out of 3 adults between 65 and 74 have a hearing loss, while nearly half of those over 75 experience hearing impairment.
  • 91% of adults over 50 have hearing loss
  • Individuals over 80 have the highest degree of hearing loss
  • Adult men in their 50 are three times more likely to develop hearing loss than women. However, as they age, the rate evens out.

Hearing loss in children is also a part of the overall prevalence, with 2-3 of every 1,000 children having detectable hearing loss in one or both ears at birth.

90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents, and 15% of US school-aged children between six and nineteen are also affected.

Financial Impact of Hearing Loss

Few recognize a significant financial impact related to hearing loss, which costs more than $100 billion annually.

The US government loses about $18 billion per year in unrealized tax revenues due to hearing loss.

To bring these numbers closer to home, consider that hearing loss costs individual households about $12,000 annually, which can be cut in half with hearing aid use.

Conditions Relating to Poor Hearing Health

The higher cost of placing hearing care lower on the list of priorities impacts the overall health of individuals and their families. Ignoring or providing limited hearing care leads to conditions like:

  • Ear Infections: five in six children have an ear infection before age three.
  • Cognitive Decline, Dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease: these conditions worsen in connection with mild to moderate untreated hearing loss with hearing loss as a leading indicator for Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Depression: the risk of depression doubles in people with untreated hearing loss over those without a problem or who use hearing aids.
  • Hypertension and Heart Disease: those with heart disease have a higher incidence of hearing loss.
  • Diabetes: your chance of developing hearing loss doubles if you have diabetes.
  • Tinnitus: ¼ of American adults experience tinnitus lasting at least five minutes every year.

Responding to the Statistics

Elevated heart disease statistics have led most adults to pursue proactive measures like regular physical checkups, blood pressure monitoring, and cholesterol checks.

A comprehensive hearing assessment accomplishes several hearing care objectives, including:

  • Establishing a baseline against which future hearing loss can be measured.
  • Identifying occupational, lifestyle, and activities risks and measures to protect yourself from developing hearing loss.
  • Diagnosing hearing loss and prescribing the best treatment option for the specific condition.

With early detection and treatment, you can reduce the financial and physical health issues associated with hearing loss.

However, most Americans do not place the same emphasis on scheduling regular hearing assessments because of the stigmas associated with hearing aids.

Innovative technology has destroyed those stigmas, making hearing aids lighter, more discrete, higher performing, and with some incredible streaming and connectivity options.

Acadian Hearing Is Your Hearing Care Partner

The fact that hearing loss is the third most common health condition affecting Americans should serve as a wake-up call.

The team at Acadian Hearing is eager to provide regular comprehensive hearing assessments and the necessary treatment and care to prevent future hearing loss and/or restore existing damage.

We follow all the necessary protocols to keep you safe during in-office visits as well as offering tele audiology. If you or a loved one is experiencing signs of hearing loss, contact us to see how we can help.

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Dr. Heidi J Sorrells - Audiologist

Dr. Heidi J. Sorrells obtained her doctorate degree from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota. She is a certified audiologist by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and she holds a Louisiana and a Texas audiology license. Dr. Sorrells enjoys all aspects of working in a private practice audiology clinic but especially loves the challenges of vestibular (balance) assessment and rehabilitation.