Woman confused at work because she has untreated hearing loss.

During the typical working years, many people build a lot of their perceived self-worth up around their occupation. They base their self-image on what kind of job they do, what position they hold, and how much they earn.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone asks, “So what do you do”? It most likely has something to do with what you do for a living.

It’s not pleasant to consider what you would do if something took your living away. But if you like your job, then you should take note of this career-breaker.

The troubling connection between job success and neglected hearing loss is precisely that livelihood killer.

Untreated Hearing Loss Raises Unemployment Rates

A person is over 200% more likely to be underemployed or unemployed if they have untreated hearing loss. Underemployment is commonly defined as the condition of employees not earning up to their potential, either because they aren’t working full time or because the work doesn’t use all of their marketable capabilities.

Those with neglected hearing loss face countless obstacles in nearly any line of work. Doctors need to be capable of hearing their patients. If they’re going to safely work together, construction workers need to be able to communicate. And without the ability to hear, even a librarian would find it hard to help library patrons.

Lots of people remain in the same line of work their entire lives. They know it very well. For them, if they can’t hear well, it would be difficult to switch to a different career and make a decent living.

The Potential Hearing Loss Wage Gap

Someone with hearing loss earns only about 75 cents to every dollar that somebody with normal hearing earns. Numerous independent studies support this wage gap and show that that gap averages out at about $12,000 lost wages per year.

The severity of hearing loss is strongly correlated with how much they lose. Even individuals with mild hearing loss are potentially losing money, based on a study of 80,000 people.

What Are Some on The Job Challenges That People With Hearing Loss Deal With?

Job stress causes somebody with hearing loss to take sick days 5 times more often than someone with normal hearing.

From moment to moment, someone with hearing loss experiences stresses that co-workers never recognize. Envision having to concentrate on hearing and understanding in team meetings while others simply take hearing for granted. And missing a crucial piece of information is always a concern.

That’s even more stressful.

Those with untreated hearing loss are also 3 times as likely to have a significant fall or other accident while at work or at home. Both impact your ability to do the work.

On top of on the job issues, individuals with neglected hearing loss are at increased danger of:

  • Social Isolation
  • Dementia
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

All of this adds up to decreased productivity. And given the difficulties that someone suffering from hearing loss confronts at work and in life, they may also not be considered for an available promotion.

Luckily, this sad career outlook has an upside.

A Career Approach That Works

Studies also reveal that getting hearing loss treated can cancel out the unemployment and the wage gap.

According to a Better Hearing Institute study, a person with mild hearing loss who wears hearing aids can eliminate the wage gap by as much as 90-100%.

Someone with moderate hearing loss can eliminate about 77% of the gap. That’s about the earning level of somebody who has normal hearing.

Despite this positive news, many individuals leave their hearing loss untreated during those working years. They feel that losing their hearing is embarrassing. It makes them feel old.

They may think that hearing aids are simply too expensive for them. They most likely don’t recognize that if hearing loss is neglected, it worsens more quickly in addition to triggering the other health problems pointed out above.

These studies are even more compelling when these common objections are taken into account. Not addressing your hearing loss may be costing you more than you know. If you’ve been on the fence about using hearing aids at work, it’s time to have a hearing test. Call us and we can help you determine whether hearing aids would help.

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References

https://journals.lww.com/thehearingjournal/fulltext/2013/02001/Hearing_Loss_Linked_to_Unemployment,_Lower_Income.2.aspx

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