The National Institute on Deafness, and other Communications Disorders (NIDCD) has updated it statistics on hearing loss. Despite the efforts of HLAA to use more inclusive definitions that make the number of persons with hearing loss  greater, the NIDCD reports that the number of persons with hearing loss has not changed much. Now noted to be about 37.5 million American adults versus the previous report of 36 million. The following are the “quick statistics” for hearing loss. For more information go to the information site at the NIDCD:


Quick Statistics


Compiled by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).


• About 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.

• More than 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents.

• Approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing.

• Men are more likely than women to report having hearing loss.

• One in eight people in the United States (13%, or 30 million) aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations.

About 2% of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss. The rate increases to 8.5% for adults aged 55 to 64. Nearly 25% of those aged 65 to 74 and 50% of those who are 75 and older have disabling hearing loss.

• The NIDCD estimates that approximately 15% of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to noise at work or during leisure activities.

• Roughly 10% of the U.S. adult population, or about 25 million Americans, has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year.

Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30%) has ever used them. Even fewer adults aged 20 to 69 (approximately 16%) who could benefit from wearing hearing aids have ever used them.

• As of December 2012, approximately 324,200 cochlear implants have been implanted worldwide. In the United States, roughly 58,000 devices have been implanted in adults and 38,000 in children.

• Five out of 6 children experience ear infection (otitis media) by the time they are 3 years old.


Cochlear implants have greatly increased. What is most noticeable is that children recognized to have significant hearing loss are being implanted and mainstreamed in schools. This portends a very large decrease in the Deaf population. Fewer children are now growing up completely Deaf. By 2007, 95% of infants were screened for hearing problems in the first 3 months of life.

What has remained much the same is hearing loss by age groups. The graph below shows how the prevalence of hearing loss increases with age. This has changed little in the last 10 years.

But many people with hearing loss still decline to seek hearing aids. In people over age 70, about 30% purchase and use a hearing aid. The rate is much lower in younger adults. In persons age 20 to 69 only 16% use a hearing aid.


That data is little changed. Many people still resist getting hearing aids when they need them. Cost is certainly a factor. Vanity is sometimes an issue. Then again many feel it is easier to just not hear. This becomes a goal for HLAA and its members: passing along information that makes it easier for people to seek hearing aids.