Adele Goman, PhD

Adele Goman, PhD

In a study published online March 2 by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Adele M. Goman, PhD, and other members of the (Frank) Lin Research Group at Johns Hopkins University used US population projection estimates with current prevalence estimates of hearing loss to estimate the number of adults expected to have a hearing loss through 2060, according to a press release.

Hearing loss is a major public health issue independently associated with higher health care costs, accelerated cognitive decline, and poorer physical functioning, with more than two-thirds of adults 70 years or older in the United States having clinically meaningful hearing loss, according to the release. With an aging society, researchers expect the number of persons with hearing loss to grow, increasing the demand for audiologic health care services. The proportion of US adults 20 years or older with hearing loss has been previously estimated using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. These estimates were applied to 10-year population estimates from 2020 through 2060.

The researchers found that the number of US adults 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%. The number of adults with moderate or greater hearing loss will gradually increase during the next 43 years.

“These projections can inform policy makers and public health researchers in planning appropriately for the future audiologic hearing health care needs of society,” the study’s authors write.

“Given the projected increase in the number of people with hearing loss that may strain future resources, greater attention to primary (reducing incidence of hearing loss), secondary (reducing progression of hearing loss), and tertiary (treating hearing loss to reduce functional sequelae) prevention strategies is needed to address this major public health issue.”

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and by the Eleanor Schwartz Charitable Foundation.

Original Paper: Goman AM, Reed NS, Lin FR. Addressing Estimated Hearing Loss in Adults in 2060. JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. 2017: doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2016.4642

Sources: JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery