Millions of people in the US live with hearing loss, perhaps more than you’d think. Over 15 percent of the country reports some hearing troubles—that comes out to about 37 million American that suffer from some form of hearing loss! Check out more of these fascinating facts about hearing loss and hearing, below:

  1. Noise is the leading cause of hearing loss. Excessive noise in the workplace is a crucial factor of noise-induced hearing loss, with many people being exposed to loud noises every day for years.
  2. More than 90% of deaf children have hearing parents.
  3. One-third of people age 65 or older have some sort of hearing loss, normally due to either long-term exposure to noise or age-related hearing loss.
  4. Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the US, after arthritis and heart disease.
  5. There are quite a few noteworthy people in music, movies, and media who suffer from hearing loss: Barbra Streisand, Bill Clinton, Halle Berry, and Stephen Colbert, to name a few.
  6. Hearing loss is the most common disability caused by military combat. Roughly 400,000 post-9/11 veterans have reported hearing loss or tinnitus.
  7. There are tiny hairs in your ears that play a huge part in the hearing process. These tiny hairs are sensorineural cells, and damage to them means damage to your hearing because they do not grow back.
  8. Ears are not just for hearing: the vestibular system in your inner ear is responsible for balance and spatial orientation.
  9. Many tech startups are now focusing on “hearables”—technology specifically focused to enhance auditory experiences. One of the most innovative items are earbuds that can customize your environmental sound.
  10. Wearing hearing aids can slow cognitive decline in those with hearing loss. Research suggests that cognitive decline is sped up by social isolation and lack of communication, common results of hearing loss.
  11. Certain foods can help combat hearing loss and promote good hearing health, such as bananas, salmon, and broccoli.
  12. On average, people with hearing loss wait about seven years before seeking help—don’t let it get to that point!
  13. The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) purchases one-fifth of the hearing aids sold annually.
  14. Over 28 million adults in the US could benefit from wearing hearing aids, but only one-fourth of those people actually use hearing aids.
  15. There are smartphone apps and  online hearing tests that allow you to control your hearing aids and further personalize your listening experience.
  16. Hearing loss can be genetic—roughly 30 to 50 percent of hearing loss is due to genetic factors.

One of the most important facts about hearing loss is that while it is treatable, it is not curable. Hearing aids, hearing implants, smart listening devices, apps, and other technologies are all able to mitigate the effects of hearing loss but cannot fully restore hearing. It is incredibly important that everyone takes care of their hearing as children and adults, to avoid hearing loss in later life.

By: Elena McPhillips