Hearing is something that people take for granted until they lose it. So much of people’s lives rely on the capacity to hear a sound. Music, for example, can only be enjoyed through hearing. Although deaf people can enjoy music, they experience it differently. Speech, too, depends on hearing to be understood. Just watch celebrities wear noise-canceling headphones and struggle to guess what host Jimmy Fallon is saying on The Tonight Show.
So, when the ears suddenly stop to recognize sounds, it can turn a person’s world upside down. There are numerous reasons why hearing can disappear. Old age can decrease a person’s ability to hear. Certain infections can also lead to loss of hearing. Constant exposure to loud noises on the job or for recreation can also impact a person’s auditory perception.
Business of Hearing
More than 5% of the entire world’s population, or about 466 million people, has hearing loss. The World Health Organization predicts that, by 2050, over 900 million people globally will have disabling hearing loss.
Audiologists will always be needed. It is never a bad time to start an audiology practice. Even after you have decided to move on and pass on the business to someone else, it is easy to sell. Services such as HH Acquisitions are around to help owners through every step of the process.
Currently, only 17% of people who have hearing loss and will benefit from using a hearing aid actually use one. As much as 83% globally have yet to be fitted with a hearing aid. Up to 1.1. Billion people between the ages of 12 and 35 years old are also prone to hearing loss mostly because of exposure to loud noises in concerts, bars, and clubs, parties, etc.
The Rising Number of Elderly People
Thanks to the advancements in the field of medicine, people all over the world are living longer. In the United States, the average life expectancy is 78.7 years old, a massive leap compared to just 68.1 years old in 1950.
Americans are living longer, happier lives. However, old age brings a myriad of health risks, including hearing loss. It is estimated that about 30-35% of older adults aged 65 and above have hearing loss. The risk increases as a person ages. Around 40-50% of seniors aged 75 and up have hearing loss.
The loss of hearing with age is usually gradual, and it seems to run in the family. If your grandparents and parents suffered from a decrease in the ability to discern sound in their twilight years, it is likely that you will have the same experience in the future, too.
As more Americans grow older, more people will need hearing aids. In just 10 years, older people will outnumber young people in the U.S. By 2030, all baby boomers will be older than 65. One in every five Americans will be in retirement age.
The demand for hearing aids will only increase as advancements in the fields of medicine and technology grant people all over the world longer life spans.
Improvements in Hearing Aids
The hearing aid market has not remained stagnant. Over the years, improvements are made to make these devices work even better than before. As a result, there are now more options for patients than before. One example is hearing aids with Bluetooth. Like regular earphones, Bluetooth hearing aids can connect to other electronic devices, including a smartphone, to allow the transfer of data wirelessly.
A few years ago, Apple introduced Made for iPhone which allows users to stream sound directly from their smartphone. It is easier to use and it allows people who have hearing loss to enjoy different sorts of media without a problem.
There are now hearings aids that are equipped with artificial intelligence to better process sound. The AI learns the user’s habits and preferences through consistent and frequent use. Eventually, the hearing aids will be able to adjust volume automatically based on the environment.
In addition, most hearing aids now come with apps. These apps allow the user to customize the settings of their hearing aids by simply tapping on their smartphone screens. Some devices offer other features such as rerouting a phone call to the hearing aids, converting speech to text, or translating a foreign language.
The hearing aids market is expected to grow and reach $14.45 billion by the end of 2026. The factors mentioned above will drive the exponential increase in the hearing aids market in the next several years.