There are a number of avenues where hearing loss and the workplace go hand in hand. The most common association is for those who work around noise and have permanent changes to their hearing status as a result. However, as the average age of workers is increasing, addressing hearing loss as part of the workplace wellness program is a smart business strategy that benefits both the employer and employee.
It is well known from the research that hearing loss can impact quality of life, but it can also impact job performance and earnings. When someone is working with a hearing loss it impacts their ability to communicate effectively, to hear sounds and signals in hazardous environments, it restricts interpersonal interactions and makes it difficult to absorb auditory information whether it is from a presentation, computer, or coworkers.
Research has shown that people with hearing loss require more effort to achieve the same work standards as peers. Workers with a hearing loss fatigue easier and experience more mental distress resulting in more sick and stress related sick leave than their normal hearing coworkers. In studies on this topic, workers report loss of job opportunities and promotions and some had to take early retirement as a result of their hearing loss. Better Hearing Institute reports a significant impact on finances. It has been found that employees with untreated hearing loss have an earning potential of $30,000 less annually than those with normal or treated hearing loss. This is a huge impact on both the employee and employer when there is an easy solution.
It is important to have a hearing evaluation from a certified Audiologist as they will provide you with a clear understanding of your current hearing status, knowledge and education on hearing aids, communication strategies, how to cope and be assertive (aural rehabilitation) and accessibility to hearing equipment and tools designed specifically for your work environment. Treating a hearing loss with the appropriate technology will create a better work environment for both the employee and employer.