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 aid styles and technology can be confusing, even if you have been wearing hearing aids for years. Please keep in mind that our job as doctoral-level audiologists is to guide you through this selection process, so be sure to ask questions and take notes as you weigh your options. Hearing aids are an important investment in your health and well-being.
Technology Comes in Lots of Shapes and Styles
A common misconception is that a specific hearing aid technology can be purchased only in certain styles. The technology refers to the computer chip and signal processing that you are purchasing. The style refers to the type of shell that houses the technology. That means the smallest style isn’t necessarily the most expensive or the best.
If you hear well in a quiet room, or when talking one-on-one with a friend or family member, but have problems hearing when the television is on in the background, or you’re trying to carry on a conversation in a crowded restaurant, you may actually have a condition that’s recently been described as hidden hearing loss, or HHL.
Why HHL Is So Hard to Diagnose
“As audiologists, patients often come to us because th
ey have problems hearing in noisy environments,” explained Tim Steele, Ph.D., FAAA, President, Associated Audiologists. “This may be their first symptom of hearing loss. But, sometimes when we test their hearing using an audiogram, the gold standard for hearing testing, their hearing test appears to be normal.”
Your hearing plays a major role in everything you do: your job, your personal life, and even your physical health and safety. Many people assume that some hearing loss isn’t a problem, or that they can simply “get by” asking people to repeat themselves or being unable to hear in daily situations.
Every year, approximately 22 million people are exposed to potentially hazardous noise levels in their workplace. Experiencing bouts of hearing loss while at work can greatly impair your ability to concentrate on daily work tasks; additionally, it can create obstacles for conversing with coworkers and clients. This hearing loss, if left untreated, could potentially lead to complications at work and may even jeopardize your job.
We’ve compiled some tips on dealing with hearing loss in the workplace. Contact Associated Audiologists if you or a loved one are suffering from persistent occupational hearing loss.