It's estimated that one in ten US adults is impacted by hearing loss.1

This shocking statistic amounts to around 25 million people nationwide. And by 2050, The World Health Organization estimates that hearing loss will impact 2.5 billion people globally.2

There are several factors that influence these numbers.

Most cases of hearing loss are caused by…

  • Aging
  • Disease
  • Genetics
  • Or exposure to loud noises

Below, we’ll take a closer look at each of these causes, and explore some of the changes experts recommend to manage and mitigate challenges with our hearing.

When permanent hearing loss is caused by loud noises, we generally refer to it as noise-induced hearing loss.

Unfortunately, this is a phenomenon that impacts people of all ages. In the US, noise-induced hearing loss is estimated to affect...

  • 12.5% of kids and teens aged 6 to 193
  • And as many as 40 million adults4

Some of us might assume that noise-induced hearing loss is the result of extreme behaviors or events. But in reality, it can be caused by run of the mill, day-to-day experiences.

Noise induced hearing loss could be the result of…

  • A single explosion
  • Listening to music at a very high volume
  • Or prolonged exposure to lawn mowers or motorcycles4

It’s also worth noting that folks with especially noisy professions — like agriculture, carpentry, mining or construction — are at a particularly high risk.5

Also called presbycusis, age-related hearing loss is very common in older adults. To get a sense of how common, let’s take a look at the figures.

In the US, it is estimated that age-related hearing loss impacts at least…

  • One third of adults aged 61 to 70
  • 60% of adults aged 71 to 80
  • And more than 80% of adults over 856

Noise exposure often plays some role in age-related hearing loss, but it may also be caused by changes in the inner ear, the middle ear, or the nerve pathways that connect the ears and the brain6.

Other risk factors for age related hearing loss include…

  • Use of certain medications (as part of chemotherapy for example)
  • And diseases that disproportionately impact older demographics7

Not just an issue for older adults, there are several diseases and short-term health issues that could contribute to permanent hearing loss.

Chronic conditions that may impact hearing include…

  • Heart disease7
  • Hypertension7
  • And diabetes8

You may also experience hearing loss as a result of…

  • Stroke9
  • Swimmer’s ear10
  • Or even meningitis11

As you might already know, it’s important to address conditions like these immediately to reduce the risk of long-term impact.

Another common risk factor is genetics — which causes a particularly large percentage of hearing loss in young children.

It’s estimated that genetic variations are the cause of…

  • 50% of all childhood hearing loss12
  • And nearly two thirds of all prelingual hearing loss (or hearing loss that occurs before a child speaks)13

There are multiple gene mutations that cause hearing loss in people of all ages. And while some of these mutations are associated with a syndrome that also causes other symptoms, 70% only impact hearing.12

There are several actions and precautions that medical professionals recommend to mitigate and manage hearing loss.

  • Avoid noisy environments. It’s best to avoid loud environments and prolonged noise exposure as much as possible. If you have to spend time in noisy places, ear plugs or noise-canceling headphones could help to preserve your hearing.14

  • Treat chronic and acute conditions. Without proper treatment, even a relatively benign (but painful) condition like swimmer’s ear can cause long-term damage.So, if you plan to protect your hearing, it’s best to stay on top of your overall health.

  • Share your troubles with the people who love you. Communication can help you manage long-term hearing loss. 14 It’s a good idea to let those around you know that you struggle with your hearing, and ask them to speak clearly when you’re together.

  • Prescription or OTC hearing aids. While prescription hearing aids are a great match for many patients with severe hearing loss, OTC options are often recommended for mild to moderate cases.14

Ultimately, there is hope. Even mild hearing loss can cause extreme frustration — among other issues — but with proper protection, treatment, and care, we can work to minimize the impact hearing loss has on our lives, and the lives of the people we love.


1. Lin, F. R., Niparko, J. K., & Ferrucci, L. (2011). Hearing loss prevalence in the United States. Archives of internal medicine, 171(20), 1851–1852.

2. WHO (2023, February 27). Deafness and hearing loss. World Health Organization. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from

3. Niskar, A. S., Kieszak, S. M., Holmes, A. E., Esteban, E., Rubin, C., & Brody, D. J. (2001). Estimated prevalence of noise-induced hearing threshold shifts among children 6 to 19 years of age: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-1994, United States. Pediatrics, 108(1), 40–43.

4. NIDCD (2022, March 16). Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Retrieved October 10, 2023, from

5. CDC (2023, January 25). Noise and Occupational Hearing Loss. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 10, 2023, from

6. Walling, A. D., & Dickson, G. M. (2012). Hearing loss in older adults. American family physician, 85(12), 1150–1156. 

7. NIDCD (2023, March 17). Age-Related Hearing Loss (Presbycusis). National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from

8. CDC (2022, May 27). Diabetes and Hearing Loss. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 10, 2023, from

9. Bamiou D. E. (2015). Hearing disorders in stroke. Handbook of clinical neurology, 129, 633–647.

10. Johns Hopkins Medicine (n.d.). Swimmer's Ear. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from

11. Zeeshan, F., Bari, A., Dugal, M. N., & Saeed, F. (2018). Hearing impairment after acute bacterial meningitis in children. Pakistan journal of medical sciences, 34(3), 655–659.

12. CDC (2023, August 4). Genetics of Hearing Loss. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from

13. Shearer, A. E., MD, PhD, Hildebrand, M. S., PhD, Schaefer, A. M., MC, LGC, & Smith, R. J., MD (2023, September 28). Genetic Hearing Loss Overview. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved October 10, 2023, from

14. CDC (2022, October 17). What If I Already Have Hearing Loss? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from