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Hearing Loss: The Facts

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.

Additional Facts:

1-in-2 adults over 70 has hearing loss, but more than 70% of this group doesn’t have hearing aids! 29 million adults could benefit from hearing aids, but 80 percent (8 in 10) don’t use them.

From the time of their hearing loss diagnosis, most people wait an average of 7 years before getting hearing aids.That is seven years too many, especially when considering the greater risk of dementia & depression from untreated hearing loss!

Videos:

The following videos describe 10 Signs You May Have a Hearing Loss (Bottom, left), and How Hearing Loss Impacts your Health and Well-being (bottom, right). Both of these videos were produced by Starkey Hearing.

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- T.L. | Bend, OR

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