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Posted on Thursday, February 25, 2016

Which Country Has the Most Hearing Loss?

Digital world map

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over five percent of the entire world population, that's 360 million people globally, live with disabling hearing loss. 32 million of these people are children under the age of 15. And the numbers of people in danger of hearing loss continue to grow annually. So which country has the most hearing loss? Well, the answer might surprise you.

According to the WHO, "Some 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events. Hearing loss has potentially devastating consequences for physical and mental health, education and employment."

Unsafe levels of sound are defined by length of time combined with loudness levels. So 85db of sound or the sound of heavy city traffic is okay if you're hearing it for less than eight hours. But rock concerts or firearms at 140 db or greater can cause instant damage. When you look at the statistics of modern countries with hearing loss, you see a surprising difference between them.

France= 7.5 million people
Germany= 10 million people
Italy = 7 milion people
Poland = 5 million people
Spain = 5.5 million people
The Netherlands = 2 million people
United Kingdom = 7.5 million people
United States = 35 million people

Although these statistics might have you rolling your eyes and muttering, "Way to go, USA." The truth is that the United States incidence of hearing loss isn't as high as say a country like Russia, which has a high hearing loss rate of 7.58% compared to the USA's 4.41%. In fact, the countries with the highest rate of hearing loss are those places with less income and less access to health care. That's because hearing health, treating of otitis media or ear aches, takes less precedence in poorer countries. So South American countries and some African countries have very high incidences of hearing loss with a 6.13% rates of hearing loss. Still, Russia tops the list of countries with the highest rate of hearing loss. That's not to say that the USA doesn't need to make a huge shift in caring for our ears. We do.

In fact, caring for your hearing, paying attention to foods that will help your hearing, turning down the volume on your earbuds, seeing a hearing health professional regularly, and seeing a hearing health professional immediately when there is a problem with your hearing are all important ways people in the US can begin to take better care of the ears. As the video below explains, hearing loss isn't just your grandfather's problem.

If you'd like to learn more about preventing hearing loss, please see your hearing health professional. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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