The month of May could be the most critical time of the year for audiologists and people everywhere who care about hearing health. It’s Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM)!
Led by the American-Speech-Language-Hearing-Association (ASHA), the organization takes this the month of May to raise awareness of communication disorders, hearing health, and the importance of early intervention and treatment. This year’s theme is ‘Communication at Work.’
Workplace hearing loss: a growing issue
The number of workers with hearing loss is rising. America is going through a generational transition toward a maturing labor force. As the workforce skews older, so does the percentage of that workforce with hearing issues.
Research suggests we’re seeing a rise in loss of adult hearing at younger ages, particularly among those in their 20s and 30s. One in ten full-time employees have a reported hearing problem. Another 30 percent believe they have an issue but have not sought treatment, according to the “Listen Hear!” study by EPIC Hearing Healthcare.
Let’s concentrate on the impact of hearing loss on performance in the workplace.
Good work depends on good hearing.
Whether it is collaborating with coworkers or serving members of the public, many roles require verbal communication, which requires good hearing.
Untreated hearing loss reduces the capacity of a person to succeed at work. Studies show that people who have hearing loss may receive lower wages, encounter higher levels of underemployment and unemployment, and experience a decrease in quality of life that can adversely affect job performance.
The occupational benefits of hearing treatment
One of the most common methods of treating hearing loss is using hearing aids. Here are some of the ways that wearing hearing aids can improve your performance in the workplace.
- Increased concentration: Untreated hearing loss leads to concentration problems, particularly when interacting with others. Scientific studies have found that hearing aids minimize cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia. Wearing hearing aids helps to keep your brain healthy.
- More effective learning: New research suggests that untreated hearing loss can make it more challenging to acquire and access new information. By improving your listening ability, hearing aids make it easier to learn on the job.
- Better productivity: According to the BHI report, the majority of working hearing aid users say that it has improved their productivity. What’s more, most people wearing hearing aids say it helps their overall ability to communicate effectively in most circumstances and has had a positive impact on their working relationships.
- Preserved earning power: Hearing loss has also been shown to impact household income, on average, up to $12,000 per year, depending on the degree of hearing loss. However, the researchers found in the same study that wearing hearing aids could reduce that loss of income by 90%.
- Less tiredness: Hearing aids allow us to reduce the amount of time we spend listening and understanding speech, making it easier to hear sounds and speech in different environments. Since the hearing aid helps recover the sounds lost with hearing loss, the brain uses less energy. This means you are less likely to end the day mentally exhausted.
- Better balance: People who use hearing aids to control their hearing loss could also see their balance improve. This is ideal for those who work in a more physical role and rely on their balance to stay.
- Improved social connections: By being able to hear and understand those around you more quickly, work social gatherings are no longer something to avoid. As such, you’ll enjoy better social relationships with your coworkers.
It all starts with a hearing test
The innovations in hearing aid technology give hope to those with hearing loss, whether they are part of the workforce or not. But did you know that the majority of adults with hearing loss have never tried hearing aids?
If you suspect you have hearing loss, there’s a good chance you already do. Likewise, if others say you should have your hearing tested, you are likely to have a certain degree of hearing loss. Now is the time to take steps to improve your quality of life and to take charge of your hearing health.
The first thing you need to do is take a hearing test. If the results don’t show a hearing loss, you will move forward with the peace of mind that your hearing is still in excellent health. If, however, hearing loss is detected, you can move forward with treatment. Either way, a hearing test is never wasted.
Treatment of hearing loss can benefit many different aspects of your life, not just your work! Contact us today to schedule a hearing test this Better Hearing and Speech Month.