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Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Hearing Disorders and Deafness

By the numbers: Hearing loss affects millions

Approximately 15 percent of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing. That makes it the third most chronic health condition for older adults (aged 65 to 74).

Below are some interesting facts about hearing loss provided by the National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders (NIDCD). For more information on hearing loss and other communication disorders, visit

One in eight people in the U.S. (13%, or 30 million) aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations. About 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids. Men are almost twice as likely as women to have hearing loss among adults aged 20-69. Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30%) has ever used them. 5 out of 6 children experience ear infection (otitis media) by the time they are 3 years old.

Alternative accessible version (pdf)