Hearing loss is a major public health issue independently associated
with higher health care costs, accelerated cognitive decline, and
poorer physical functioning. More than two-thirds of adults 70 years or
older in the United States have clinically meaningful hearing loss.
an aging society, the number of persons with hearing loss will grow,
increasing the demand for audiologic health care services. The
proportion of adults 20 years or older in the United States with hearing
loss has been previously estimated using data from the National Health
and Nutrition Examination Survey. These estimates were applied to
10-year population estimates from 2020 through 2060.
‘The number of adults in the United States 20 years or older with hearing loss is expected to gradually increase from 44 million in 2020 to 74 million by 2060.’
In a study published online by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
Adele M. Goman of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., and
colleagues used U.S. population projection estimates with current
prevalence estimates of hearing loss to estimate the number of adults
expected to have a hearing loss through 2060.
The researchers found that the number of adults in the United States
20 years or older with hearing loss is expected to gradually increase
from 44 million in 2020 (15% of adults) to 74 million by 2060 (23% of adults). This increase is greatest among older adults. In
2020, 55% of all adults with hearing loss will be 70 years or
older; in 2060, that statistic will be 67%. The number of adults
with moderate or greater hearing loss will gradually increase during the
next 43 years.
"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.
"Given the projected increase in the number of people with hearing
loss that may strain future resources, greater attention to primary
(reducing incidence of hearing loss), secondary (reducing progression of
hearing loss), and tertiary (treating hearing loss to reduce functional
sequelae) prevention strategies is needed to address this major public