Hearing Loss Prevalence Declines American adults may be experiencing the onset of hearing impairment at a later age, according to research published in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery. The study found that hearing loss among adults 20–69 has declined over the past decade, despite an increase in the number of aging adults. Researchers don’t ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   March 01, 2017
Hearing Loss Prevalence Declines
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Hearing Disorders / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   March 01, 2017
Hearing Loss Prevalence Declines
The ASHA Leader, March 2017, Vol. 22, 6. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB1.22032017.6
The ASHA Leader, March 2017, Vol. 22, 6. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB1.22032017.6
American adults may be experiencing the onset of hearing impairment at a later age, according to research published in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery. The study found that hearing loss among adults 20–69 has declined over the past decade, despite an increase in the number of aging adults.
Researchers don’t know why the prevalence of hearing loss has declined, but speculate that several factors—fewer manufacturing jobs, more use of hearing protection, less smoking and better medical care—could be related.
Age is still the strongest predictor of hearing loss, according to the study. Regardless of age, men are about twice as likely as women to have hearing loss, even when accounting for occupational noise exposure. Other factors that correlated with hearing loss include race/ethnicity, lower education level, and heavy use of firearms.
The researchers compared hearing health data collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey over two time periods: 2011–2012 and 1999–2004. The overall annual prevalence of hearing loss dropped slightly, from 16 percent to 14 percent (28 million adults versus 27.7 million).
Researchers found the greatest likelihood of hearing loss in the oldest age group (60–69) surveyed. Non-Hispanic white adults were more likely to have hearing loss than adults in other ethnic groups, with non-Hispanic black adults having the lowest risk.
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March 2017
Volume 22, Issue 3