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Over 1.2 Million Deaf and Hard of Hearing Marylanders

Resource Guide: Number of Individuals in the United States and Maryland
Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

There are over 1.2 million Deaf and hard of hearing Marylanders

United States

Johns Hopkins researchers recently conducted a nationally representative study to estimate the number of people who are Deaf or hard of hearing in the United States.1

The study’s findings suggested that 48.1 million Americans (20.3%) of all Americans aged 12 years or older are deaf or hard of hearing in at least one ear and 30 million Americans (12.7%) of all Americans aged 12 years or older are deaf or hard of hearing in both ears.2 Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D. and colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys and the World Health Organization’s identification of Deaf and hard of hearing individuals, which identifies those as individuals who have a hearing level greater than 25 dB.

Maryland

The United States Census Bureau estimates that there are 5,976,407 individuals living in Maryland.3 Based on the Johns Hopkins study’s findings, it is estimated that there are approximately 1.2 million Marylanders aged 12 years or older who are deaf or hard of hearing in at least one ear and 759,000 Marylanders aged 12 year or older who are deaf or hard of hearing in both ears. These numbers are extrapolated from the Johns Hopkins study’s findings and the U.S. Census Bureau’s data.

• 20.3% of 5,976,407 = 1,213,211 million Marylanders who are deaf/hard of hearing in at least one ear.

• 12.7% of 5,976,407 = 759,004 thousand Marylanders who are deaf/hard of hearing in both ears.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. The data does not include children under 12 years old, so would the number of Deaf and hard of hearing Marylanders be even larger?

Yes, but not by too much. Deaf and hard of hearing children are classified as a low incidence population by the education system. Data from the Johns Hopkins study shows that the prevalence of Deaf and hard of hearing grows as the population becomes older.

2. The proportion of 20.3% includes those who are Deaf or hard of hearing in one ear (unilateral). Why is this category included?

Those who are Deaf or hard of hearing in one ear still need accommodations. They benefit from captioning and often need to negotiate their interactions with others to ensure full access to language and communication. This is yet another reason why universal access, such as Maryland’s law requiring captioning on public televisions, is so critical.

3. Isn’t the number in Maryland higher?

It would be a safe assumption to claim that the number of Deaf and hard of hearing individuals in Maryland would be a bit higher than the general numbers above due to the local presence of the federal government, Maryland School for the Deaf and Gallaudet University. It is commonly accepted that the prestige, access and availability of employment and educational opportunities in the area attract more residents to Maryland. However, there has been no current study verifying this.

4. How can I find numbers of Deaf and hard of hearing people in specific counties or specific demographic areas?

It would be fair to extrapolate the numbers here to other numbers. Multiply the number of residents in any county or specific area by .203 and you will be able to find a rough estimate of Deaf and hard of hearing individuals in that area.

5. What is the Maryland Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing doing to promote access?

The office has three priorities: 1.) to support the development of the Deaf ecosystem (a thriving community of Deaf and hard of hearing business owners and Deaf and hard of hearing employees serving Deaf and hard of hearing individuals) by increasing the number of Deaf and hard of hearing business owners and creating more jobs for the Deaf and hard of hearing, 2.) to improve interpreter quality and licensure, and 3.) to provide better access for the Deaf and hard of hearing to State services and programs.

1 “One in Five Americans Has Hearing Loss: New nationally representative estimate shows wide scope of problem,” http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/one_in_five_americans_has_hearing_loss.

2 Lin, F. R., Niparko, J. K., & Ferrucci, L. (2011). Hearing Loss Prevalence in the United States. Archives of Internal Medicine, 171(20), 1851–1852, http://doi.org/10.1001/archinternmed.2011.506.

3 2014 Maryland population estimate, http://www.census.gov.


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