How Society Treats Hearing Loss

By ConsumerAffairs

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 3 of every 1,000 children are born with a detectable level of hearing loss, and around 30 million Americans over age 12 have disabling hearing loss. However, only about 20% of the people who could benefit from hearing aids use one.

By themselves, those statistics are unsettling. However, compared to the fact that 75% of U.S. adults use some sort of vision correction, they highlight the stark differences in how society treats hearing loss versus a similar disability like vision loss.


According to the Better Hearing Institute, 68% of people with hearing loss cite finances as the main reason for not using hearing aids.


While glasses have been adopted as must-have fashion accessories for NBA players and presidential hopefuls alike, hearing aids are still lacking in aesthetic options.


Don't count on your favorite hotel or restaurant offering a pair of complimentary hearing aids if you leave yours at home.

At work and school

Untreated hearing loss is proven to affect children's attention and comprehension in classroom lectures, and adults with untreated hearing loss lose as much as $30,000 in salary and wages annually.

In social settings

Kids with hearing loss struggle in social situations, and their difficulty interacting or following along in conversation is often mistaken for aloofness.

In relationships

The say communication is the key to any good relationship, but communication can be challenging for hearing impared individuals, especially in a relationship with a person with normal hearing.

According to the World Health Organization, 360 million people worldwide are hearing disabled. Hearing loss is a major public health issue, the third most common after arthritis and heart disease. Yet because we can’t see hearing loss, only its effects, many mistake it as aloofness, confusion, or personality changes. To learn more about how hearing aids can help with hearing loss, and to find the one that’s right for you, check out ConsumerAffairs' Hearing Aids guide.

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