Hearing loss is a problem shared by many people of all ages. However, hearing loss among baby boomers is rapidly becoming a growing public health issue of particular concern.
Famous baby boomers with progressive hearing loss include entertainers Phil Collins, Bono, Cher and Eric Clapton and former President Bill Clinton, who in 1997, at the age of 51, became the youngest president to be fitted with dual hearing aids.
Baby boomers are those people born between 1946 and 1964, which means that the first generation of baby boomers started turning 65 in 2011.
Since the National Institutes for Health estimate that 25% to 40% of people over 65 already have some degree of hearing loss, the number of Americans affected by hearing loss is expected to shoot up—from about 36 million Americans today to 78 million by the year 2030.
As we enjoy longer lives, hearing loss is becoming a leading disability among seniors. In fact, researchers at the University of Michigan Health System found that approximately 44% of people suffer from significant hearing loss by age 69…66% by age 79… and 90% after age 80.
It’s not just aging itself that’s causing the problem, however. Baby boomers were the first generation to experience loud rock concerts, and their hearing health is being constantly challenged by our noisier-than-ever environment, which includes car alarms, video games, power tools, lawn mowers, motorcycles, subways, busy airports and…personal listening devices.
Click here to watch the video about one baby boomer’s personal experience with hearing loss. In this video, Ronald Hoffman, MD, Medical Director of the Ear Institute at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, talks about hearing loss with one of his many baby boomer patients.