Hearing health should be a workplace wellness priority and employers are encouraged to include hearing tests and hearing health as part of their workplace wellness programs.
Hearing health affects many aspects of an individual’s wellbeing and is linked to several health conditions. The earlier hearing loss gets treated the better. Fortunately, hearing aids, as well as other appropriate treatments and workplace accommodations, can often help individuals function optimally on the job and enjoy a better quality of life.
Almost all (95%) of employees who suspect they have a hearing problem but have not sought treatment say they believe their untreated hearing loss impacts them on the job in at least one way, from asking people to repeat what they have said, to misunderstanding what is being said, to even pretending to hear when they can’t.
Today, about half of U.S. employers offer wellness promotion initiatives. By including hearing tests and hearing health information in workplace wellness programs-as well as including hearing aids as an employee benefit-employers encourage workers to treat hearing loss rather than hide it. Not only does this help the worker, but it creates a work environment where employer and employee can team up to ensure that a worker’s hearing difficulty does not interfere with job performance, productivity, safety, quality of life, morale, opportunities, or success in the workplace.
In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, where organizations are coming to rely more heavily on maturing workers who have valuable experience and expertise, and at a time when we seem to be seeing an increase in adult hearing loss at younger ages, this employer-employee partnership is critical for bottom-line success. Empowering America’s workers with information on hearing health and options for addressing hearing loss can help them become more informed healthcare consumers and more productive, satisfied employees.
5 Sound Reasons for Employers to Promote Hearing Health
1. Many people with hearing loss are in the workforce. America is experiencing a demographic shift toward a maturing labor force. People are staying in the workforce longer. And research suggests that we’re seeing an increase in adult hearing loss at younger ages, particularly among those in their 20s and 30s. In fact, more than 10 percent of full-time employees have a diagnosed hearing problem, and another 30 percent suspect
2. Treating hearing loss can enhance worker performance. Most hearing aid users in the workforce say it has helped their performance on the job. What’s more, most people who currently wear hearing aids say it helps their overall ability to communicate effectively in most situations and has had a positive impact on their relationships at work.
3. Leaving hearing loss unaddressed doesn’t pay. Brushing off hearing loss can limit our ability to communicate effectively and can negatively-and unnecessarily-affect productivity, job performance, and earnings; lead to fatigue and distress; restrict interpersonal interactions; make it difficult to receive and interpret auditory information from computers, machines, and individuals; pose a risk to our ability to hear sounds that signal hazards in the work environment; increase sick leave and disengagement from work; and diminish overall quality of life.
4. Hearing loss is tied to other health conditions. Hearing loss may signal or exacerbate other important health issues. Research shows that hearing loss is linked to depression, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, dementia, cognitive decline, moderate chronic kidney disease, sleep apnea, and the risk of falling and hospitalization.
5. State-of-the-art features make today’s hearing aids better than ever. Today’s hearing aids make it easier to hear sounds and people from all directions and filter out noise. Many sit discreetly and comfortably inside the ear canal and out of sight; and many are wireless, so they can interface easily with other high-tech devices like smartphones, conference-room speaker phones and hearing loops. Some are even waterproof, and others are rechargeable. The bottom line?
As many as 91 percent of owners of the newest hearing aids-those purchased in the last year-are satisfied with their hearing aids, and 90 percent of people who purchased their hearing aid within the last four years say they’d recommend a hearing aid to a friend or family member.
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