Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have projected that hearing loss among U.S. adults will nearly double the current rate by 2060 (JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. March 2, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2016.4642).
The number of adults 20 years or older in the United States with hearing loss has been previously estimated using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The Johns Hopkins researchers applied these estimates to 10-year population estimates from 2020 through 2060 to determine the prevalence of hearing loss.
The researchers found that the number of adults in the United States 20 years or older with hearing loss is expected to gradually increase from 44 million in 2020 (15% of adults) to 74 million by 2060 (23% of adults). This increase is greatest among older adults: In 2020, 55% of all adults with hearing loss will be 70 years or older; in 2060, that statistic will be 67%.
“These projections can inform policy makers and public health researchers in planning appropriately for the future audiologic hearing health care needs of society,” the authors wrote in the study. “Given the projected increase in the number of people with hearing loss that may strain future resources, greater attention to primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention strategies is needed to address this major public health issue.”