The Epidemiology of Deafness

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2019 Sep 3;9(9):a033258. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a033258.


Hearing loss is the most common sensory deficit worldwide. It affects ∼5% of the world population, impacts people of all ages, and exacts a significant personal and societal cost. This review presents epidemiological data on hearing loss. We discuss hereditary hearing loss, complex hearing loss with genetic and environmental factors, and hearing loss that is more clearly related to environment. We also discuss the disparity in hearing loss across the world, with more economically developed countries having overall lower rates of hearing loss compared with developing countries, and the opportunity to improve diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of this disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Developed Countries
  • Developing Countries
  • Environment
  • Hearing Loss / classification
  • Hearing Loss / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss / epidemiology*
  • Hearing Loss / therapy
  • Humans