Many people are aware that their hearing has deteriorated but they are hesitant to do anything about it. There are various reasons that they don’t seek help. Unfortunately, many people wait years or even decades, to get their hearing checked. During those years of putting it off and ignoring their problem, auditory deprivation can start to raise its ugly head. With auditory deprivation, the individual’s ability to understand amplified speech deteriorates because of inadequate auditory stimulation. Also, a study done last year at Johns Hopkins revealed a strong link between hearing loss and dementia. People should not ignore the early signs of hearing loss.
But how does hearing loss affect a person’s job performance? Hearing is a critical sense for effective communication in the work force. Most employment situations require verbal communication in order to effectively engage in commerce and in dealing with the public. Effective hearing is also critical to assure safety on the job. According to the Better Hearing Institute, more than 34 million Americans suffer from hearing loss and roughly 60% of them are in the workforce. Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to increased worker absenteeism and reduced workplace productivity. Hearing loss may also be associated with a wide range of physical and emotional conditions such as impaired memory, compromised ability to learn new tasks, reduced alertness, increased personal safety risks, irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, and a decrease in overall health.
According to Sergei Kochkin, executive director of the Better Hearing Institute, hearing loss has been shown to negatively impact household income on-average up to $12,000 per year depending on the degree of hearing loss. However, the use of hearing aids was shown to mitigate the effects of hearing loss by 50%. For America’s 34 million hearing impaired who do not use hearing instruments, the impact of untreated hearing loss is quantified to be in excess of $100 billion annually.
When people with even mild hearing loss use hearing aids, they often improve their job performance; enhance their communication skills; increase their earnings potential; improve their professional and interpersonal relationships; stave off depression; gain an enhanced sense of control over their lives; and better their quality of life. If you or someone you know suffers from hearing loss, schedule a hearing test with a licensed audiologist.