How many deaf people are there in the United States? Estimates from the Survey of Income and Program Participation

J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ. Winter 2006;11(1):112-9. doi: 10.1093/deafed/enj004. Epub 2005 Sep 21.


The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) is one of a few national surveys that regularly collects data identifying the American population of persons with hearing loss or deafness. Estimates from the SIPP indicate that fewer than 1 in 20 Americans are currently deaf or hard of hearing. In round numbers, nearly 10,000,000 persons are hard of hearing and close to 1,000,000 are functionally deaf. More than half of all persons with hearing loss or deafness are 65 years or older and less than 4% are under 18 years of age. However, these findings are limited to those who report difficulty hearing "normal conversation" and do not include the larger population of persons with hearing loss for which only hearing outside the range and circumstances of normal conversation is affected. Policy makers, communications technology manufacturers, health and education service providers, researchers, and advocacy organizations have an interest in these results.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Correction of Hearing Impairment / statistics & numerical data
  • Data Collection
  • Deafness / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Persons With Hearing Impairments / rehabilitation
  • Persons With Hearing Impairments / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology