Economic Impact

Make a Sound Investment

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By Frankie Huang


In honor of World Hearing Day, which takes place on March 3 every year, Hearing Health Foundation is joining forces with the World Health Organization (WHO) to draw attention to the economic impact of hearing loss and the importance of treating hearing loss.

Did you know the economic cost for unaddressed hearing loss is estimated to be $750 billion globally? In the U.S. individuals with untreated severe to profound hearing loss are expected to cost society $270,000 each over the course of their lifetimes. Most of these costs are due to reduced productivity in the workplace, although the use of special education resources among children and other social services are also factors.

Lifetime earnings for those with untreated hearing loss average 50 to 70% less than their typical-hearing peers in the U.S., and has been shown to negatively impact household income up to $12,000 per year, on average, depending on the degree of hearing loss, according to the Better Hearing Institute. This is largely due to having fewer opportunities for promotions, reduced job performance, and decreased earning power.

Beyond economic losses, untreated hearing loss can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. Researchers have found that individuals with untreated hearing loss are more likely to develop depression, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy. They may also avoid or withdraw from social situations. Left undetected in children, hearing loss can negatively impact speech and language acquisition, academic achievement, and social and emotional development.

Prevention, screening for early identification, early intervention, and rehabilitation through hearing devices are among the strategies that mitigate hearing loss and its consequences. Those who treat their hearing loss with hearing aids and/or cochlear implants show improvement in social, emotional, and psychological well-being. Interventions can significantly decrease isolation, increase self-esteem, and lead to better employment opportunities and earnings—all of which will benefit society as a whole.

For World Hearing Day 2017, the WHO has joined forces with Mimi Hearing Technologies. To raise awareness of hearing loss, Mimi hopes to have 1 million people test their hearing. To do this, they are offering the Hearing Test app on iOS free for everyone. If you suspect you or a loved one may have hearing loss, this is a great opportunity to test your hearing with Mimi’s Hearing Test, which is an initial online assessment. The results may require a follow-up appointment with a hearing health professional. However, by detecting signs of hearing loss early on the benefits of treating hearing loss far outweigh the consequences if left untreated.

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8 Reasons to Put a Hearing Test at the Top of Your To-Do List

By Better Hearing Institute

Of all the life hacks for better living, taking care of your hearing is among the smartest and most economical.

From pilfering away at your relationships and quality of life, to putting you at risk for other health conditions, untreated hearing loss is a silent thief. Here are eight reasons why you should get a hearing test today.

 

  1. It may help your pocketbook. A study by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) shows that using hearing aids reduces the risk of income loss by 90 to 100 percent for those with milder hearing loss, and from 65 to 77 percent for those with severe to moderate hearing loss, and lost as much as $30,000 annually.
     

  2. Your mind may benefit. Research shows a link between hearing loss and dementia. Leading experts to believe that addressing hearing loss may at least help protect cognitive function.
     

  3. It could boost your job performance. Most hearing aid users say it has helped their performance on the job. That's right. Getting a hearing test could benefit all those employees (a whopping 30 percent) who suspect they have hearing loss but haven't sought treatment.
     

  4. Life’s challenges may not seem so intimidating. Research shows people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to tackle problems actively. Apparently, hearing your best brings greater confidence.
     

  5. Your zest for life might get zestier. Most people who use hearing aids say it has a positive effect on their relationships. They’re more likely to have a strong social network, be optimistic, feel engaged in life, and even get more pleasure in doing things.
     

  6. It could protect you against the blues. Hearing loss is linked to a greater risk of depression in adults, especially 18 to 69-year-olds.
     

  7. You’ll probably be more likely to get the drift. The majority who bought their hearing aids within the past five years say they’re pleased with their ability to hear in the workplace, at home with family members, in conversations in small and large groups, when watching TV with others, in lecture halls, theaters or concert halls, when riding in a car, and even when trying to follow conversations in the presence of noise.
     

  8. Your heart and health may benefit. Some experts say the inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that it’s possible that abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body.

So do it for your health. Do it for your happiness. Get a hearing test.

To take a free, quick, and confidential online hearing check to help determine if you need a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing health care professional, visit www.BetterHearing.org

The content for this blog post originated in a press release issued by The Better Hearing Institute.

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Labor Day: A Reflection of Disability in America's Workplace

By Morgan Leppla

Did you know that the first Labor Day in the U.S. was celebrated on September 5, 1892, to commemorate the achievements of the labor movement? More than a century later, we still celebrate our workforce for their contributions and successes. Mandatory safety regulations in the workplace, anti-discrimination policies, and establishing minimum wage are some of the noteworthy milestones accomplished.

Labor Day exudes an inclusive spirit. 

But what about individuals who have a disability?

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) mandates that employers must make reasonable accommodations for qualified candidates with disabilities in the workplace. However, many people do not speak up or are ashamed to disclose their disability and needs to their employer, including those with hearing loss.

The employment rate for people who are deaf or hard of hearing in the U.S. is 50 percent, compared with 70 percent among workers who do not have disabilities. There is also a stark disparity between annual income for those who have a substantial hearing loss or are deaf, compared with their typical hearing peers: $38,000 per year vs. $50,000 annually in 2011.

A hearing loss may affect one’s ability to remain communicative and productive in the workplace, as the majority of today’s jobs require some form of verbal correspondence. Whether that is listening to instructions on a construction site, providing medical expertise, or receiving feedback from a supervisor, the words people say tend to be important. Gaps in understanding lead to gaps in accuracy, productivity, and performance.

This is not just an individual worker’s problem either. When people stop working at optimal capacity, bottom lines shrink. And considering that 67 to 86 percent of the 48 million Americans who have hearing loss do not have hearing aids, more dollars than you’d expect could be lost.

Workers’ general wellness includes knowing about, managing, and treating hearing loss, as well as feeling comfortable asking for reasonable accommodations without fear of discrimination. Eradicating the stigma surrounding hearing loss is key to addressing it as an epidemic medically, economically, and socially—and we at HHF are working hard to eliminate that stigma through building education and awareness.

Labor Day is about honoring the workforce. Please join Hearing Health Foundation in celebrating the progress made for American workers, as well as acknowledging the obligation to improve the livelihood, both in and out of the workplace, of our fellow citizens. 

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