Hearing loss is one of the most common health problems in the United States. Of the more than 49 million disabled Americans, about 38 million suffer from significant (disabling) hearing loss. That is more than all those suffering from heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, blindness, tuberculosis, venereal disease and kidney disease combined.
Untreated hearing loss is linked strongly with dementia. A discussion on the consequences of untreated hearing loss can be found here. From the figure (left, top), hearing loss rises dramatically for people aged 50-59, and even more dramatically for those between 60-69 years of age. An explanation of this figure can be found in the next figure (left). The most common causes of hearing loss are noise and aging.
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) affects 50 million Americans. 16 million must seek medical attention, and 2 million have trouble functioning on a day-to-day basis. Severe tinnitus can have a profound effect on the quality of a person’s life.
Tinnitus often accompanies hearing loss, and could be as debilitating as the hearing loss itself. An expanded discussion on Tinnitus can be found here.