Mar 19, 2024 - Health

Nashvillians living with hearing loss

Hearing loss prevalence
Data: SoundCheck; Map: Alice Feng/Axios Visuals

More than 9% of Davidson County residents experience at least mild hearing loss.

  • That's an estimated 63,118 people, based on a recent study seeking to estimate the condition's prevalence down to the county level.

Why it matters: The findings have important implications for public health officials, policymakers and more.

The big picture: The federally funded and peer-reviewed study, from nonpartisan research group NORC at the University of Chicago and published in the journal The Lancet Regional Health - Americas, found that more than 1 in 9 Americans experiences at least mild hearing loss in both ears.

  • The condition is closely tied to age: An estimated 8.9% of Americans ages 35-64 experience hearing loss, compared to 72.7% of those age 75 or older.

Yes, but: Other factors also play a role, including the kind of community where someone lives.

  • Hearing loss is more prevalent in rural areas, per the study.
  • Nashville's rate is lower than other parts of the state. Cumberland County had the highest rate of hearing loss at 25.2%. Johnson County is close behind at 25%.

Zoom in: Race and gender are also factors.

  • An estimated 14.6% of white, non-Hispanic Americans suffer from hearing loss, compared to 6.2% of Black Americans.
  • And an estimated 13.1% of men experience hearing loss, compared to 10.1% of women.

The bottom line: While these geographic and socioeconomic breakdowns are vital for policymakers and others, "hearing loss is a problem everywhere," the study's lead author, David Rein, tells Axios.

  • "It's something that affects all groups and affects all of us as we age."

Read more about the study

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