Hearing loss is common, affecting approximately 48 million Americans. But despite its prevalence, only about one in five people with hearing loss actually wears hearing aids, the most common treatment option for this condition. This means millions of people are at risk for an increase in mental, physical, emotional and economic issues related to living with untreated hearing loss. In fact, untreated hearing loss can affect your employment status and yearly income.
Risk of Unemployment
The National Institute of Health published a report based on data collected in the early 2000s entitled, “The Socioeconomic Impact of Hearing Loss in U.S. Adults.” Researchers uncovered that people with hearing loss are nearly two times more likely than those with normal hearing to be unemployed or underemployed.
This may be in part due to the fact that those with hearing loss are more than three times less likely to finish high school than those with normal hearing. However, the researchers took educational attainment, age, sex and race into account when analyzing the data. So while hearing loss may contribute to lower education levels, it’s not the sole cause of unemployment or underemployment.
Risk of Lower Income
When it comes to income, research shows that people with hearing loss who are employed make 25% less than people with normal hearing. For this group, the mean wage was $23,481, compared to $31,272 for people without hearing loss.
According to Dr. David Jung, coauthor of the 2013 study entitled, “Hearing Loss Linked to Unemployment, Lower Income,” and fellow in otology and neurotology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, “Those are pretty striking associations, but it obviously needs a lot more study before we can draw some hard conclusions about what it all means and, more importantly, what needs to be done about it.”
What Can Be Done
In order to prevent hearing loss from impacting your career options or income, seek treatment when you first start showing symptoms. Like with most medical conditions, the sooner you seek treatment, the better your outcomes.
If you have trouble hearing your conversation partner at a business lunch at Green Pig Bistro or have difficulty following along in conference room meetings, schedule an appointment with ENT Specialists Of Northern Virginia for a hearing evaluation today.