Hearing loss rates to double, researchers find

Listen up.

The number of Americans with hearing loss is expected to nearly double and will outpace overall population growth rate in the next 43 years.

That loss will be felt greatest by seniors, according to research published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

“Hearing loss is a major public health issue that will affect many more adults,” said study lead author Adele Goman, research fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s Center on Aging and Health. “In the coming decades, there will be an increased need for affordable interventions and access to hearing healthcare services.”

Goman and colleagues projected future hearing loss using data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They found the number adults age 20 years or older with hearing loss is expected to gradually increase from 44 million in 2020 (15 percent) to 73 million in 2060 (23 percent).

But by 2020, 55 percent of all adults with hearing loss will be 70 years or older and will rise to 67 percent in 2060.

Hearing loss impacts quality of life. Seniors with hearing loss have an increased risk of depression, anxiety, hospitalization and falls. A growing body of research is also finding a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline.

Unfortunately, many people who could benefit from a hearing aid never get them because insurance providers, including Medicare and Medicaid, don’t fully cover hearing aids and related costs.



Topics: Alzheimer's/Dementia , Clinical