Americans Face Hearing Loss 'Epidemic'

Hearing impairment far more common than expected

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 29, 2008 2:08 AM CDT

(Newser) – Americans are likely to face an epidemic of hearing impairment in coming years as the use of personal listening devices soars and the population ages, Reuters reports. A third of adults already has hearing loss to some degree and the proportion is expected to rise significantly. White Americans, men, and the lesser educated are the worst affected, say researchers.

Almost 30 million adults have difficulty discerning speech, the researchers wrote in a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. They warned that many people try to ignore hearing loss, leading to problems at work and depression. Experts urge that young adults, especially those in high-risk groups, be screened early for hearing loss.

8.5% of people in their 20s suffer some hearing loss, researchers said, and 17% of those in their 30s. Loud music, workplace noise, and firearms are thought to be among the chief causes.
8.5% of people in their 20s suffer some hearing loss, researchers said, and 17% of those in their 30s. Loud music, workplace noise, and firearms are thought to be among the chief causes.   ((c) alexharries)
Researchers say the prevalence of hearing loss among Americans looks set to rise sharply in coming years.
Researchers say the prevalence of hearing loss among Americans looks set to rise sharply in coming years.   (KRT Photos)
55 million Americans have hearing loss in one or both ears, researchers estimate, with white people, men, and the least educated the most likely to be affected.
55 million Americans have hearing loss in one or both ears, researchers estimate, with white people, men, and the least educated the most likely to be affected.   (KRT Photos)
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