MENUHomeNewsTopics A - Z
Accessibility|Contact|Privacy|Terms|Cookies

Financial Danger of Leaving Hearing Loss Un-addressed


  • Published: 2011-02-23 : Author: Better Hearing Institute
  • Synopsis: Use of hearing aids was shown to reduce the risk of income loss by 90 to 100 percent for those with milder hearing loss.

People with untreated hearing loss lose as much as $30,000 in income annually, depending on their degree of hearing loss, according to the latest national study by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI). And the cost to society is estimated to be as high as $26 billion in unrealized federal taxes.

Use of hearing aids was shown to reduce 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, the study of more than 40,000 households showed.

"More than 34 million Americans suffer from hearing loss," says Sergei Kochkin, PhD, executive director of BHI. "Roughly 60 percent of them are in the workforce. Our study showed that when hearing loss is left un-addressed, 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. And 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 unemployment rates (15.6%) double that of the normal-hearing population (7.8%), and nearly double that of their peers (8.3%) who use hearing aids.

About 11 percent of the U.S. population has some degree of hearing loss. Yet hearing loss remains one of the most commonly un-addressed health conditions in America today. In fact, only 40 percent of Americans with moderate to severe hearing loss and 9 percent of those with mild hearing loss wear hearing aids. What's more, fewer than 15 percent of those who received a physical exam in the last year said they received a hearing screening by their physician or nurse during that exam despite the fact that the vast majority of those with hearing loss could benefit from hearing aids.

Kochkin urges employers to encourage the use of hearing aids in the workforce by taking one or more of the following steps:

Create a corporate climate where hearing loss is acceptable. This may positively affect workers who feel stigmatized and hide their hearing loss on the job.

Cover hearing aids in corporate insurance plans.

Recommend that employees use the company's medical flex-spend program to buy hearing aids.

Provide easy accommodations, such as moving an employee's desk away from noisy hallways or installing a phone that amplifies high frequencies.

Design cubicles with noise-absorbent materials or equip meeting rooms with inductive loops.

Perhaps most important, Kochkin urges human resource executives to increase awareness and education among employees of the importance of addressing hearing loss. This is especially relevant because 50 percent of people with untreated hearing loss have never had their hearing professionally checked.

"The real tragedy in delaying hearing loss treatment is that when left un-addressed, hearing loss negatively affects individuals and their families for the rest of their lives in the form of lost wages, lost promotions, lost opportunities, lost retirement income, and unrealized dreams," says Kochkin. "But when people with even mild hearing loss use hearing aids, they improve their job performance, increase their earning potential, enhance their communication skills, improve their professional and interpersonal relationships, stave off depression, and better their quality of life."

To facilitate a timely hearing test for all American workers, BHI is offering an online hearing test (www.hearingcheck.org) where people can quickly assess if they need a more comprehensive hearing check by a hearing professional.

More About Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids

Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced alertness, increased risk to personal safety, irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, and diminished psychological and overall health. But nine out of ten hearing aid users report improvements in their quality of life.

Advances in digital technology have dramatically improved hearing aids in recent years, making them smaller with better sound quality. Designs are modern, sleek, and discreet. Clarity, greater directionality, better speech audibility in a variety of environments, better cell phone compatibility, less whistling and feedback then hearing aids of the past, and greater ruggedness for active lifestyles are common features.

Founded in 1973, the BHI conducts research and engages in hearing health education with the goal of helping people with hearing loss benefit from proper treatment. For more information on hearing loss, visit www.betterhearing.org. To take the BHI Quick Hearing Check, visit www.hearingcheck.org. To participate in the discussion forum, visit www.betterhearing.org, click on "Discussion Forum," and go to "Welcome!" to register.

Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.


Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.


Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.


List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.


Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.






Disclaimer: This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals. Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.

© 2004 - 2018 Disabled World™