In the United States, approximately 48 million Americans have a hearing loss. Of these, approximately only 35% are 65 years of age or older. Despite the prevalence of hearing loss, many wait up to 10 years to seek treatment. Untreated hearing loss has far-reaching effects on a person’s life, but increasingly there is evidence that untreated hearing loss can impact your earning potential.
In a study entitled ‘The Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss on Household Income,’ the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) analyzed the impact of untreated hearing loss on the earning potential of a working adult. The purpose of the report was to “quantify the relationship between treated and untreated hearing loss and income.”
The BHI study analyzed data from surveys of over 40,000 households. Respondents included “heads of households” with a hearing loss who wore hearing aids, those with untreated hearing loss, and those without a hearing loss.
Based on the results, the data indicated that untreated hearing loss has a significant impact on earning potential. Specifically:
- “Hearing loss was shown to negatively impact household income on-average up to $12,000 per year depending on the degree of hearing loss
- The use of hearing instruments was shown to mitigate the [income] effects of hearing loss by 50%
- The estimated cost in lost earnings due to untreated hearing loss is $122 billion”
The Americans with Disabilities Act ensures that a person with hearing loss cannot be discriminated against in the workplace. However, this does not mean that untreated hearing loss doesn’t present challenges. Some of the difficulties that untreated hearing loss can present include:
- Difficulty Communicating – Communication is an important part of many jobs. Although more and more of our work is moving into the digital world, face to face conversations and meetings are still commonplace. Untreated hearing loss can hinder a person’s ability to communicate effectively, which can have knock-on effects in their performance on the job.
- Reduced Confidence – Untreated hearing loss has been linked to reduced confidence. The fear of not being able to understand someone, answering inappropriately or missing bits of a conversation can all impact confidence.
- Anxiety and Depression – In line with reduced confidence, untreated hearing loss can also result in anxiety or depression.
The Benefits of Treatment
Positively, The BHI study found that the use of hearing aids reduced the risk of income loss by up to 90-100% for adults with mild hearing loss. For those with moderate-severe hearing loss, treatment reduced the risk of lost income by 65-77%.
The results are clear: left untreated, hearing loss can impact your earning potential. But seeking treatment can significantly reduce the impact. If you are concerned that hearing loss is negatively affecting your earning potential, book in a hearing assessment with the team at Oviatt Hearing & Balance. Call 888-342-4734 or click here to request an appointment online.