American Study Shows Hearing Loss Is High But Use Of Hearing Aids Is Low

A new study has revealed that almost two out of every three U.S adults over the age of 70 has a significant hearing loss.

To say that people aged 65 and over make up one-eighth (12.8%) of the population in 2009 and in the 2010 U.S Census it was reported there were 308,745,538 residents, that means around 38,593,191 have a hearing loss in America.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, United States, found that 63% of the 717 survey participants age 70 plus had a hearing loss, whether it was mild or severe.

And controversial findings showed that 64% of white people in the study had hearing loss compared to 43% of African- Americans. This means that African-Americans have only about a third of a chance of having a hearing loss in contrast with white people of comparable age.

But even more shocking in the review, which was published online in the “Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences”, was that despite the overwhelming number of adults with a hearing difficulty, only about 20% of them use hearing aids.

According to the data rates of hearing aid use, be it a unitron passport device etc.; vary considerably by severity of hearing deficiency. Only 3% of people with mild hearing loss say they use hearing aids in parallel to 41% of those with moderate or severe hearing loss.

Study researcher Frank Lin, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of otology, said: “Any way you cut it, the rates of hearing aid use are phenomenally low.”

Reasons for older white people being at greater risk of hearing loss than older African-Americans are said to be that “pigment produced by cells in the skin and inner ear might protect the inner ear by absorbing free radicals and other mechanisms.”

Whatever the reason, being African-American appears to offer some protection against hearing loss, he says.