Basic facts on hearing loss & tinnitus
Men are more likely than women to experience hearing loss
- 1 in 5 Americans have hearing loss in at least one ear. This is 48 million people and far exceeds previous hearing care industry estimates of approximately 25 million.*****
- Hearing loss occurs with roughly 90 percent of tinnitus cases.
- Tinnitus is sometimes the first sign of hearing loss.
- 25 million to 50 million people in the United States experience tinnitus to some degree.
- Approximately 22.7 million adults in the U.S. experienced tinnitus for more than three months, or about 10 percent of the adult population of the United States.
- Approximately 16 million people seek medical attention for their tinnitus, and for up to two million patients, debilitating tinnitus interferes with their daily lives.
- 20% of the US population aged 12 years and older has hearing difficulties severe enough to impact communication.*****
- There is a direct link between age and hearing loss: about 18% of American adults between the ages of 45 and 54, 30% of adults between ages 65 and 74, and 47% of adults ages 75 and older have hearing impairments.*
- In the United States, three out of every 1,000 children are born deaf or hard-of-hearing.
- About 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises at work or in leisure activities.
- About 60% of deployed military service men and women have noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), tinnitus, and other hearing injuries.****
- Impairment of auditory activity and tinnitus are more likely to occur in Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans than post-traumatic stress syndrome in Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.*
- High levels of cotinine, the chemical that indicates exposure to tobacco smoke and second-hand smoke has been directly linked to higher risks of some types of hearing loss. **
Searching for a cure for hearing loss & tinnitus
- Hearing Health Foundation is the largest private funder of hearing research in the United States.
- There is currently no cure for the underlying cause of hearing loss, due to damage of sensory and supporting inner ear cells.
- Hearing Health Foundation’s motto Walk-Block-and-Turn helps prevent hearing loss: walk away from a sound, block sound (with ear plugs, ear muffs or hands), and turn down the volume.
- Current treatment options include amplifying the remaining sensory cells with hearing aids or stimulating the hearing nerve directly with cochlear implants.
- Inner ear cell regeneration has the potential to be the newest advancement for curing hearing loss. Since hearing loss is an underlying cause of roughly 90 percent of tinnitus cases, curing hearing loss may also cure tinnitus.
- There are two challenges with inner ear cell regeneration: rebuilding the damaged ear cells and reconnecting the cells to the nerve fiber, which will allow for sound information to be sent to the brain. ***
- Biological researchers have successfully discovered regeneration of inner ear cells in chickens that allow them to regain hearing within 28 days, and are trying to yield these results in mammals.
- With proper funding, a cure for hearing loss & tinnitus could be reached within the next 10 years.
From the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
** From Lalwani, Anil K., MD; Liu, Ying-Hua, MD, PhD; Weitzman, Michael, MD. “Secondhand Smoke and Sensorineural Hearing Loss in Adolescents”. July 2011
*** From the California Ear Institute: “Hair Cell Regeneration Research”
**** Department of Veterans Affairs and http://www.tinnitusformula.com/infocenter/articles/conditions/veterans.aspx
*****Johns Hopkins, Archives of Internal Medicine, November 14, 2011
Source: Hearing Health Foundation http://hearinghealthfoundation.org