We (That Includes You!) Are Number 6…and That’s a Good Thing!

In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported on the prevalence of disabilities in the United States. There was one problem with the survey they conducted—they neglected to ask about hearing loss. At the time, we educated them on why hearing loss needed to be included in any studies going forward. If it weren’t for HLAA, hearing loss would fall by the wayside again.

Great News!
On August 17, the CDC came out with their 2018 report, “The Prevalence of Disabilities and Health Care Access by Disability and Status Type among Adults – United States, 2016.” This time, hearing loss was included.

In all there were six disabilities people were asked about. Hearing loss was added to the original five: cognition, independent living, mobility, self-care, and vision. The CDC said by adding the sixth disability (hearing loss) to the list the number of adults ages 18 and above who have a disability jumped from one in five to one in four. The study authors report this as a key finding.

These studies are important because they help shape public policy and services concerning people with disabilities. When you read the report, keep in mind the CDC only asked about being “deaf or having a serious difficulty hearing.” Therefore, their findings might seem low to you, but they didn’t take into account all levels of hearing loss. People also had to self-report via a telephone survey. However, their conclusions align with other scientific surveys.

Thank you, CDC, for adding hearing loss to your list!

Barbara Kelley
Executive Director