Hearing loss is expected to double among U.S. adults

As hearing loss occurs over time, it is possible that patients are oblivious to early signs and, before they know it, go completely deaf, researchers warn.

The number of Americans aged 20 and older who suffer from hearing loss is expected to almost double over the next 43 years, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins University.

More than 70 million Americans will experience some form of hearing loss by 2060 as the elderly population continues to steadily grow - and insurers still aren't picking up the tab for hearing aids.

"These projections can inform policy makers and public health researchers in planning appropriately for the future audiologic hearing health care needs of society", the authors write. In 2060, approximately 23% of all American adults aged 20 and older might suffer from hearing loss. Goman together with her colleagues developed a study based on data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. "In order to address this issue, novel and cost-effective approaches to hearing health care are needed".

Although the finding sounds obvious, the research is the first-ever placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized clinical trial of hearing aid outcomes, according to the American Journal of Audiology. "This study projects unprecedented growth in this chronic health condition", he said. When considering all aspects of health care, hearing care is known to be very expensive.

Hearing loss is a major public health issue independently associated with higher health care costs, accelerated cognitive decline, and poorer physical functioning. Storper is the director of otology at the Center for Hearing and Balance Disorders at the New York Head and Neck Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Loud noises belonging to other objects may also cause these disorders and care must be taken to ensure that the ears are protected from such noises.

Among older adults who suffer from hearing loss, there are higher incidences of depression, anxiety, a higher rate of hospitalization and a higher rate of falls, Tucci said. As many as 80% of people need two. The number of adults with moderate or greater hearing loss also will increase gradually during the next 43 years, they said. Although it might seem like all people lose their hearing when they get older, it is not true. "I would recommend [testing] when you are 55 to 60 to see if there is any hearing loss". The researchers observed that people who are getting older are going to lose their hearing if they don't pay more attention to their health.

"Ideally, we can focus on strategies for preventing hearing loss, research focused into affordable intervention and access to hearing healthcare services", Goman said. Published online March 2, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2016.4642.

  • Joanne Flowers