According to the Better Hearing Institute in February 2010, the number of Americans with hearing loss has grown to more than 34 million, or roughly 11 percent of the U.S. population. The study found that over the last generation, hearing loss among Americans has increased at a rate of 160 percent of U.S. population growth and is one of the most commonly unaddressed health conditions in America today. The prevalence of hearing loss over the last 20 years has grown from 266 to 295 people per thousand U.S. households.
According to Sergei Kochkin, PhD, executive director of BHI, “Unaddressed hearing loss silently creeps into virtually every aspect of daily living and seriously erodes quality of life.” “The issue of moving a person from admission of their hearing loss, to recognition of the problems hearing loss causes in their lives, to positive action to treat their hearing loss, is extremely complex and multi-dimensional. Early education to achieve recognition of hearing loss and information on the value of hearing healthcare must remain priorities for the foreseeable future.”
The effects of untreated hearing loss can be especially devastating for children. Even a mild hearing loss can have a negative impact on language competence, cognitive development, social and emotional well-being, and academic achievement.