Percentage of men and women reporting some difficulty with hearing: by age, Great Britain, 2002/03
In 2002/03, 19 per cent of men and 13 per cent of women in Great Britain reported hearing difficulties. This difference was evident in all age groups, but was most pronounced among the elderly. Fifty-two per cent of men aged 75 and over reported problems, compared with 38 per cent of women.
The likelihood of reporting a hearing difficulty increases with age. In 2002/03, 44 per cent of those aged 75 and over had a hearing problem. This compared with 28 per cent of those aged 65 to 74, 18 per cent of those 45 to 64 year-olds and 6 per cent of adults aged under 45.
Between 1979 and 2002/03 the proportion of adults with hearing difficulties rose from 13 per cent to 16 per cent. Most of this growth occurred between 1979 and 1992, mainly among the older age groups, and the percentage has remained relatively stable since then.
Between 1979 and 1998/99 the proportion of men aged 75 and over reporting a hearing difficulty rose from 42 per cent to 53 per cent. It then levelled off at 52 per cent in 2002/03.
In 2002, 23 per cent of men, and 17 per cent of women, aged 75 and over wore a hearing aid. Overall, the proportion of adults wearing a hearing aid doubled between 1979 and 2002, from 2 per cent to 4 per cent.
Source: General Household Survey, Living in Britain 2002