If you suspect that you may have hearing loss, you’re not alone. Of the nearly 40 million people in the United States with hearing loss, the majority are still in the workforce. And more than 10 percent of full-time employees have a diagnosed hearing problem, according to EPIC Hearing Healthcare’s, “Listen Hear!” survey. Another 30 percent suspect they have a problem but have not yet sought treatment. And still another study revealed that hearing loss is actually common among forty-somethings - people who are in the prime of their careers.
Hearing Loss Affects Income Levels
A national study from the Better Hearing Institute even found that people with untreated hearing loss lose as much as $30,000 in income annually, depending on their degree of hearing loss. The aggregate yearly loss in income due to underemployment for people with untreated hearing loss is an estimated $176 billion. And the fiscal cost to society in unrealized federal taxes is an estimated $26 billion. This doesn’t even measure the impact that unaddressed hearing loss has on worker productivity, absenteeism, and presenteeism.
Today’s Hearing Aids Offer Hope
The good news is that most people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids. And today's high-tech, sleek, and virtually invisible hearing aids are better than ever. They make it easier to hear sounds and people from all directions and filter out noise. Many hearing aids sit discreetly and comfortably inside the ear canal and out of sight; and are wireless, so they can interface easily with other high-tech devices like smartphones and conference-room speaker phones. New “smart” hearing aids and rechargeables are the latest innovations that can ensure you don’t miss out on important conversations on the job.
5 Ways Hearing Aids in the Workplace Can Pay Off
Consider these five ways that getting a professional hearing evaluation and using professionally fitted hearing aids, if recommended by an audiologist, could pay dividends for you:
1. Lets the boss know you’re a go-getter. Addressing hearing loss sends the message that you want to succeed and that you’re willing to do what it takes to make that happen. It also shows self-assurance and a willingness to deal with issues head-on.
2. Improves your on-the-job communications skills. A national study by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) found that nearly seven out of 10 participants with hearing loss reported improvements in their ability to communicate effectively in most situations because they used hearing aids. They saw improvement in their ability to hear in business meetings, while talking on the telephone, in small gatherings, in quiet conversation and at restaurants.
3. Strengthens your work relationships. Good listening skills are important to understanding the needs of clients, customers and co-workers as well as to positive workplace interactions. Research shows people with hearing loss saw improvements in their work relationships when they used hearing aids.
4. Amps up your confidence. Enhanced self-efficacy is an important benefit of using hearing aids. Research shows that when people with hearing loss use hearing aids, they often feel less self-critical and more in control of their lives. One BHI study found that the majority of people with mild and severe hearing loss felt better about themselves and life overall as a result of using hearing aids.
5. Unleashes your earning potential. Hearing your best at work helps you do your best. Using hearing aids reduced the risk of income loss by 90-100 percent for those with milder hearing loss, and from 65-77 percent for those with severe to moderate hearing loss, according to a BHI study. And people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to be employed than their peers who don’t.