Rate of hearing loss in US could increase significantly according to new research

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Hearing loss in US adults in 2060
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Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland (US) have projected that among US adults aged 20 years and older, the number of people with hearing loss is expected to increase from 44 million in 2020 to 73.5 million by 2060.

The team created projections of future hearing loss using data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a biannual representative epidemiological study, and published their findings in a Research Letter in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery. They applied the estimated data to 10-year population estimates from 2020 through 2060.

The 2020 rate would correspond to 15% of adults, while the 2060 rate would be equivalent to about 23% of the adult population. The projected increase is highest for older adults: in 2020, 55.4% of all adults with hearing loss will be 70 years of age or older. In 2060, the rate will jump to 67.4%, according to the findings.

“During the next 43 years, the number of people with hearing loss in the United States is projected to almost double and will outpace the overall population growth rate, given the distribution shift toward older adults. Furthermore, by 2060, the number of people with a moderate or greater hearing loss will exceed the number of people who have a mild loss today,” the authors indicate. “The increased need for affordable interventions and accessibility to trained hearing specialists will require novel and cost-effective approaches to audiologic health care.”

Source: MPR; Goman AM et al. Addressing Estimated Hearing Loss in Adults in 2060. JAMA Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. 2017 Mar 2.

C.S.