CHICAGO — The aging of America’s baby boomers are behind a projected increase in demand for audiologic health care services, according to a study published online by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
“Given the projected increase in the number of people with hearing loss that may strain future resources, greater attention to … prevention strategies are needed. ”
With more than two-thirds of adults 70 years or older in the United States having clinically meaningful hearing loss, researchers found that the number of adults in the United States 20 years or older with hearing loss is expected to gradually increase from 44 million in 2020 (15% of adults) to 74 million by 2060 (23% of adults). This increase is greatest among older adults. In 2020, 55% of all adults with hearing loss will be 70 years or older; in 2060, that statistic will be 67%.
“These projections can inform policy makers and public health researchers in planning appropriately for the future audiologic hearing health care needs of society,” noted lead author Adele Goman of Johns Hopkins University. “Given the projected increase in the number of people with hearing loss that may strain future resources, greater attention to primary (reducing incidence of hearing loss), secondary (reducing progression of hearing loss) and tertiary (treating hearing loss to reduce functional sequelae) prevention strategies is needed to address this major public health issue.”
Already the Food and Drug Administration is moving toward expanding access to hearing aids. In December, the agency announced its commitment to considering a category of over-the-counter hearing aids that could deliver new, innovative and lower-cost products to millions of consumers.
And at a recent ECRM event, where OTC suppliers meet with their retail counterparts to discuss new product introductions as well as merchandising and category management strategies, several hearing aid companies were on hand to discuss possible future product launches.