Hearing loss occurs in nearly one in five Americans, a figure much higher than previously estimated. This includes individuals 12 years old and above. Previous studies had focused on broad hearing loss such as hearing loss in children or hearing loss in the elderly population. The most recent study put all these groups together, bringing researchers to a surprising conclusion.
The study noted that the “female hormone estrogen and the pigment melanin in darker skin could have protective effects on the inner ear.” The researchers were unable to determine why or how estrogen or melanin in darker skin effected the inner ear. This may explain why males experience the most hearing loss over females and white individuals have a higher hearing loss incurrence when compared to African Americans and Hispanic Americans (Prevalence of Hearing Loss in Black and White Elders, 2009).