Hearing loss is much more common than you may think. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the number of Americans living with hearing loss doubled between 1970 and 2000.
If you are living with hearing loss, you are not alone. While hearing loss may present some challenges, thanks to advances in technology, there are a number of devices that can help make daily life easier than ever before.
Hearing loss in America
Every case of hearing loss is different. It can occur quickly or slowly over time, and there are a number of common factors that can trigger the development of hearing loss. Some common causes, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America, may include:
- Issues with ear structures.
- Infection or virus.
- Impacted earwax.
- Head trauma.
- Exposure to loud sound.
- Perforated eardrum.
- Natural aging.
Hearing loss affects people of all ages. The HLAA reported that about 20 percent of Americans – approximately 48 million people – report hearing loss of some degree. That includes nearly 15 percent of children from the ages of 6 to 19 years old, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number increases with age. The HLAA reported that by the age of 62 years old, one out of every three people has some level of hearing loss.
Those living with hearing loss typically work, go to school and lead active lives. According to the HLAA, 60 percent of people with hearing loss are either in the workforce or educational settings. The CDC reported that 71 percent of young adults, from the ages of 21 to 25, who have hearing loss are employed.
The importance of devices
Given that hearing loss is a reality for millions of Americans, companies and researchers continue to turn their efforts to developing technology that can make everyday tasks simpler.
For many years, hearing aids have been one of the most common devices used to assist those who live with hearing loss. According to ASHA, 42 percent of adults 70 years of age or older have used hearing aids. These tools continue to improve with technological advancements.
Another common device is a CapTel captioned telephone. A Harris Poll found that 88 percent of those with hearing loss sometimes miss a word or two during a conversation and 67 percent at times have trouble holding conversations in noisy locations. Captions help alleviate the stress of talking over the phone when you have hearing loss.
In report to the Federal Communications Commission, 90 percent of captioned telephone users said that their device is “important” or “very important” to holding a conversation. In fact, more than 55 percent of respondents said that using a phone without captions would not be possible.