A senior couple laughs over a cup of coffee.

A Recent Study Suggests Adult Hearing Loss is Possibly on the Decline

Good news! Hearing impairment may be dropping among young, middle-aged, and some senior adults, according to a study led by Howard Hoffman of the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and recently published by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

The study, “Declining Prevalence of Hearing Loss in U.S. Adults Aged 20 to 69 years,” compared hearing-test data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey’s 2011–2012 and 1999–2004 cycles and found a continuing decrease in prevalence of hearing loss in the selected age group.

“Any decline in hearing loss is a win,” said Jeff Akers, a provider at The Hearing Clinic, “but it’s still a significant problem nationwide and around the world, so early detection and treatment are crucial to maintaining quality of life.”

Some 48 million Americans — about one in five people — have a hearing loss, according to a Johns Hopkins study. Left untreated, it can negatively impact an individual’s physical, mental, social, and even financial health.

When treated for hearing loss, however, adults report significant improvements in relationships, social engagement, mental health, and other important aspects of their lives, according to research released in 1999 by the National Council on Aging. Their loved ones also report improvements.

Though researchers in the present study reported a decline in hearing loss among adults younger than 70, they also found that:

  • Prevalence of hearing loss is nearly twofold among men versus women
  • Hearing loss is linked to age, sex, race, ethnicity, education level, and noise
  • The need for hearing health care in the U.S. will only increase as the population grows, ages, and experiences onset of hearing loss later in life

At the Hearing Clinic, we truly believe that better hearing leads to a better quality of life. If you’re experiencing listening problems or haven’t had your hearing checked in a while, contact our caring experts to schedule an appointment today.