According to a national study by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), those with untreated hearing loss lose as much as $30,000 in annual income. The BHI study included over 40,000 households and showed that the use of hearing aids can reduce the risk of income loss by 90% to 100% for those with milder hearing loss, and from 65% to 77% for those with severe to moderate hearing loss.
“More than 34 million Americans suffer from hearing loss,” stated BHI executive director Sergei Kochkin, PhD. “Roughly 60% of them are in the workforce. Our study showed that when hearing loss is left unaddressed, it can pose significant barriers to productivity, performance, career success, and also to lifelong earnings.”
The loss in income for people with untreated hearing loss due to underemployment is estimated at $176 billion, according to the BHI study. The study also showed that there is a strong relationship between the degree of hearing loss and unemployment for those who do not use hearing aids. Those with severe hearing loss had a15.6% unemployment rate, which is double that of the normal-hearing population (7.8%), and nearly double that of their peers (8.3%) who use hearing aids.
Based on the new study and risk to worker productivity and wages, Kochkin urges employers to encourage the use of hearing aids in the workforce by utilizing flex medical plans for hearing instruments and creating awareness of the importance of hearing on social connections and work performance.