People are often amazed when I explain how widespread an issue hearing loss is in the United States.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control report hearing loss is the nation’s third most common chronic physical health problem.

Since I’m an audiologist, it doesn’t surprise me the CDC also says loss of hearing is more common than diabetes and cancer.

Stats like these are helpful because they give policymakers, healthcare professionals, and the public a sense of the big picture.

At Alabama Hearing Associates, we look at statistics to serve the people behind the numbers.

Let’s take a quick look at the prevalence of hearing loss and the actions we should take in light of the numbers.

How Prevalent Is Hearing Loss?

The Johns Hopkins University Cochlear Center for Hearing and the Public Health estimates 38.2 million Americans age 12 or older have loss of hearing in both ears.

That represents about 14.3 percent of the country’s population.

Although hearing impairments are more common among older adults, the condition affects people of all ages. Approximately 2 babies per 1,000 are born with hearing loss.

About one-third of adults aged 65 to 74 are living with hearing loss, but that statistic goes up to about one-half for adults aged 75 and over, according to the National Institutes of Health.

What You Can Do: Get a Hearing Test

Scheduling a hearing assessment is the next step for anyone who hasn’t had their hearing tested in the last 12 months. Most of us wouldn’t think of skipping our annual physical with our primary care physician.

After all, we know physicals are important because our physician checks health metrics like our cholesterol level.

Yet, we tend to neglect regular hearing tests. Given how common hearing loss is, all of us should make regular hearing checks a priority.

Now is the best time to schedule your annual hearing screening.

If you’re not having trouble with your hearing at the moment, your hearing test establishes a baseline we can refer to in the future.

Treatment for Hearing Loss Has Come a Long Way

Living with untreated hearing loss increases your risk of many negative effects such as depression, cognitive decline, and social isolation.

I strongly urge anyone who has difficulty with their hearing to schedule a hearing assessment as soon as possible.

Often, we discover people avoid treatment because they fear the social stigma associated with wearing a bulky hearing aid. Let me put those fears to rest.

Today hearing aids aren’t the oversized contraptions you may remember an older relative using decades ago.

Modern hearing aids are effective, tiny, and barely visible.

You probably know someone who uses a hearing aid, but you haven’t noticed the device because of its small size.

If you or a loved one is experiencing signs of hearing loss, contact us to see how we can help.

At Alabama Hearing Associates, we’ve put in place safety measures to protect our patients and employees.

We also offer tele-audiology appointments to patients who cannot come to our hearing center.

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Dr. Jan Liles

Dr. Liles earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Montevallo and her master’s degree from the University of Alabama. From 1991 to 2001, she worked with two ENT medical practices and initiated one of the first newborn hearing screening programs in the state. In 2002, she was awarded a doctorate in audiology from the University of Florida. Dr. Liles and her longtime best friend, Dr. Sheehy, founded Alabama Hearing Associates in January 2002.