This article by a former corrections officer begins

An estimated 30 percent of offenders are deaf or hard of hearing, often referred to as the "invisible disability."

I find this super surprising, and can't tell where this is coming from in the references. Any way to know?

EDIT: Sources I can find put deafness/hard-of-hearing rate in the general population at ~3%.

  • Your second link gives an upper figure of 14%: "if everyone who has any kind of "trouble" with their hearing is included then anywhere from 37 to 140 out of every 1,000 people in the United States have some kind of hearing loss, with a large share being at least 65 years old", which is closer to what I would have guessed
    – Henry
    Jan 1, 2017 at 20:12

1 Answer 1


There is a journal article Hearing loss in prison inmates that found 29.4% of "inmates presented with some degree of hearing impairment"; however, the sample size was only 34!

Another article is Hearing Loss in Two Prison Populations which found 26 of 73 (36%) failed a hearing screening test.

  • 2
    Thanks for the papers! Looks like the question now is how severe the hearing loss is -- the second paper says "Most was not severe", the first I can't tell. Is there a technical definition of "hard of hearing"? I assumed it was fairly severe.
    – Eli Rose
    Jan 28, 2017 at 4:40

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