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Quick Statistics About Hearing, Balance, & Dizziness


  • About 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.1
  • More than 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents.2
  • Approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) ages 18 and over report some trouble hearing.3
  • Among adults ages 20-69, the overall annual prevalence of hearing loss dropped slightly from 16% (28.0 million) in the 1999-2004 period to 14% (27.7 million) in the 2011-2012 period.4
  • Age is the strongest predictor of hearing loss among adults ages 20-69, with the greatest amount of hearing loss in the 60-69 age group.4
  • Men are almost twice as likely as women to have hearing loss among adults ages 20-69.4
  • Non-Hispanic White adults are more likely than adults in other racial/ethnic groups to have hearing loss; non-Hispanic Black adults have the lowest prevalence of hearing loss among adults ages 20-69.4
  • Among adults ages 20-69 who report 5 or more years of exposure to very loud noise at work, about 18% have speech-frequency hearing loss in both ears. Among adults who report no occupational noise exposure, 5.5% have speech-frequency hearing loss in both ears.4
  • 1 in 8 people in the United States (13%, or 30 million) ages 12 or older has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations.5
  • About 5% of adults ages 45-54 have disabling hearing loss. The rate increases to 10% for adults ages 55-64. 22% of those ages 65-74 and 55% of those who are 75 and older have disabling hearing loss.6
  • Roughly 10% of the U.S. adult population, or about 25 million Americans, has experienced tinnitus lasting at least 5 minutes in the past year.7
  • About 14.4% of adults worldwide have experienced tinnitus. Roughly 2% have experienced severe tinnitus, and almost 10% have experienced chronic tinnitus (lasting more than 3 months).8
  • About 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids.9
  • Among adults ages 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than 1 in 3 (30%) has ever used them. Even fewer adults ages 20-69 (approximately 16%) who could benefit from wearing hearing aids have ever used them.10
  • As of July 2022, more than 1 million cochlear implants have been implanted worldwide.11 In the United States, roughly 118,100 devices have been implanted in adults and 65,000 in children.12
  • 5 out of 6 children experience ear infections (otitis media) by the time they are 3 years old.13

Balance and Dizziness

  • About 5% of children in the United States (3.3 million) have experienced dizziness or balance problems in the past year.14
  • Among children in the United States who have had three or more ear infections in the past year, more than 11% have had dizziness and balance problems.14 This is more than double the rate of dizziness and balance problems in children who have had fewer than three ear infections.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Identifying infants with hearing loss - United States, 1999-2007. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 59(8): 220-223.
  2. Mitchell, RE; Karchmer, MA (2004): Chasing the mythical ten percent: Parental hearing status of deaf and hard of hearing students in the United States. Sign Language Studies. 2004;4(2):138-163.
  3. Blackwell, DL; Lucas, JW; Clarke, TC (2014): Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2012 . National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat Feb:(260):1-161. 
  4. Hoffman, HJ; Dobie, RA; Losonczy, KG; Themann, CL; Flamme, GA (2016): Declining Prevalence of Hearing Loss in US Adults Aged 20 to 69 Years. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Mar 1;143(3):274-285. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2016.3527. 
  5. Lin, FR; Niparko, JK; Ferrucci, L (2011): Hearing loss prevalence in the United States. [Letter] Arch Intern Med. Nov 14;171(20):1851-2. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.506.
  6. Based on calculations performed by NIDCD Epidemiology, Statistics, and Population Sciences Section staff: (1) using data from the 2015-2020 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES); (2) applying the definition of disabling hearing loss used by the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Expert Hearing Loss Team (hearing loss of 35 decibels or more in the better ear, the level at which adults could generally benefit from hearing aids).
  7. Bhatt, JM; Lin, HW; Bhattacharyya, N (2016): Prevalence, severity, exposures, and treatment patterns of tinnitus in the United States. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Oct 1;142(10):959-965. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2016.1700.
  8. Jarach, CM; Lugo, A; Scala, M; van den Brandt, PA; Cederroth, CR; Odone, A; Garavello, W; Schlee, W; Langguth, B; Gallus, S (2022): Global prevalence and incidence of tinnitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Neurol. Sep 1;79(9):888-900. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2022.2189.
  9. NIDCD Epidemiology, Statistics, and Population Sciences Section, based on December 2015 Census Bureau estimates of the noninstitutionalized U.S. population, personal communication; May 2016.
  10. Based on calculations by NIDCD Epidemiology, Statistics, and Population Sciences Section staff using data collected by (1) the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) annually for number of persons who have ever used a hearing aid [numerator], and (2) periodic NHANES hearing exams for representative samples of the U.S. adult and older adult population [denominator]; these statistics are also used for tracking Healthy People 2010 and 2020 objectives.
  11. Zeng, FG (2022): Celebrating the one millionth cochlear implant. JASA Express Lett. Jul;2(7):077201. doi: 10.1121/10.0012825. 
  12. Estimates based on manufacturers’ voluntary reports of registered devices to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, December 2019.
  13. Teele, DW; Klein, JO; Rosner, B (1989): Epidemiology of otitis media during the first seven years of life in children in greater Boston: a prospective, cohort study. J Infect Dis. Jul;160(1):83-94. doi: 10.1093/infdis/160.1.83.
  14. Li, CM; Hoffman, HJ; Ward, BK; Cohen, HS; Rine, RM (2016): Epidemiology of dizziness and balance problems in children in the United States: A population-based study. J Pediatr. Apr;171:240-7.e1-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.12.002.
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