There is a large body of research that proves that hearing loss can have significant negative effects of many aspects of a person's life, including their health, employment, income and social life.
In fact, the employment rate of hearing impaired people has been found to be lower than that of the general population, with more hearing impaired than hearing persons employed in lower status, and lower paid, jobs.
The earnings of hearing impaired people were, on average, around 85% of those of the hearing population.
However, a new scientific report has found that hearing aid wearers earn significantly more than non-wearers with hearing loss - who are much more likely to be unemployed.
The study, titled Hearing Loss – Numbers and Costs: Evaluation of the Social and Economic Costs of Hearing Impairment by Bridget Shields at Brunel University London, found people with hearing loss who do not wear hearing aids are around twice as likely to be unemployed as those who do wear hearing aids.
The report states: “It is likely that hearing aid users will be happier, healthier and wealthier, with a better overall quality of life, than hearing impaired people who do not use aids. Hearing aid users earn significantly more than non-users, the differential between the two groups increasing with the severity of hearing loss.”
How is hearing loss linked to unemployment?
Bridget Shields’ study looks at a number of factors that link hearing loss with unemployment, including; performance and productivity; stigma, discrimination and social integration at work; mental distress at work; and increased sick leave.
The report suggests that these factors show that suffering from hearing loss while in employment can cause many negative impacts, both during the working day and after work.
One of the biggest problems is fatigue, which can occur both during and after work. The fatigue caused by hearing loss is one of the contributory factors to greater incidences of sick leave among hearing impaired employees, compared to those without hearing issues.
The worse the hearing, the greater the need for recovery. Fatigue can also lead to negative feelings in the workplace, including a lack of confidence in ability and productivity, a perceived lack of control in work situations, as well as practical problems with communication and relationships with colleagues.
The employment rate for the hearing impaired population of working age (16-64) was 64%, compared with 77% for people who do not have a long term health issue or disability, according to the report.
How can hearing aids help?
There are an estimated 26.7 million people over the age of 50 with hearing loss in the US alone, and it’s believed only one in seven of those use a hearing aid. Even worse, it takes the average person some 7-10 years of poor hearing to admit their hearing loss and seek help.
Many of these people convince themselves that they do not need hearing help, and that hearing loss is not “that” bad. But if left untreated, hearing loss could already be having a negative impact on their employment and social life.
Hearing loss, however, doesn’t need to affect your wellbeing and employment opportunities. There are a number of solutions and treatments that will improve your quality of life. Hearing aids can provide significant improvements to one’s overall health and their ability to communicate effectively in the workplace.
In fact, the report from Bridget Shields found a number of benefits for hearing aid users, including:
- Surveys of hearing aid users show that over 80% experience improvements in their overall quality of life: they report less physical and mental exhaustion, better sleep, less depression and better memory than non-users, and improved family relationships.
- The use of hearing aids can mitigate the amount of income loss, compared with non-sufferers, by up to $20,000 - depending on the degree of hearing loss.
- 30% of employed (full or part time) hearing aid users earn over €40,000 ($60,100 CAD) compared with 21% of non-users.
- The unemployment rate of those with hearing loss aged between 45 to 64 in the US (8.1%) is approximately twice that of those with hearing aids (4.4%).
- 37% of those who suffer from hearing loss but do not use hearing aids believe that they earn less than their peers, compared with just 23% of hearing aid users.
The report concludes: “hearing loss represents a very large cost to society in terms of reduced quality of life and lost productivity. It is therefore important, for the sake of both the hearing impaired individual, and society as a whole, that hearing loss is identified early and appropriate treatment and support provided.”
If you believe you may be struggling with hearing loss, book an appointment with York Hearing Clinic today for a hearing evaluation.