Productivity threat: 25%+ U.S. Workers Have Untreated Hearing Loss.
POMONA, Calif., May 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Confirming the growing issue of untreated hearing loss in the workforce, a new research survey by EPIC Hearing Healthcare (EPIC) finds that 30 percent of U.S. employees suspect they have hearing loss, but have not sought treatment. Of those, almost all (95 percent) say it impacts them on the job.
The survey uncovers a wide range of ways employees believe their untreated hearing loss is affecting them, from having to ask people to repeat what they said (61 percent) to misunderstanding what is being said (42 percent) to even pretending to hear when they cannot (40 percent).
“Untreated hearing loss is hurting more than employee productivity,” said Brad Volkmer, president and CEO, EPIC Hearing Healthcare. “The strain from poor hearing also damages employee health and well-being by causing anxiety and stress, even contributing to depression.”
Less than one-fourth of employees have had their hearing checked in the past two years, according to the EPIC survey, which polled 1,500 U.S. full-time workers, and only one out of five people who could benefit from a hearing aid actually wears one, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders.
“Some employees are worried that wearing hearing aids will make them look older or that they will be viewed as less capable,” said Volkmer. “Another reason many don’t seek treatment is that the high cost of hearing aids, not covered by most medical insurance, takes them by surprise.”
The National Institutes of Health reports that hearing aids cost on average about $1,500, but can be as high as $3,000-$5,000. According to EPIC’s research, many employees (28 percent) are under the false impression that hearing aids are covered under most medical plans or by Obamacare (18 percent), and many more (42 percent) admit they just don’t know. While supplemental hearing insurance can help cover the cost of hearing aids, only 15 percent of employees are offered the benefit.
The Importance of Prompt Treatment
According to the Better Hearing Institute, people with hearing loss are often unaware that receiving early hearing treatment has the potential to literally transform their lives.
Unfortunately, when people do not treat hearing loss, they tend to do things like turn up the television, which can worsen the problem. Difficulty with communication can lead to social isolation and disengagement, which may predispose people to avoid seeking treatment. Early intervention – by fitting people with the right hearing aids to restore hearing before lifestyles are altered – can prevent this decline. This can also help avoid lost income. The Better Hearing Institute reports that individuals lose approximately $1,000 in annual household income for every 10 percent increase in hearing loss.
To increase the urgency placed on hearing loss prevention and treatment, EPIC is launching the Listen Hear! public education initiative during May, which is Better Hearing Month. Initial materials include this video and infographic. For more information, visit epichearing.com/listenhear.
EPIC Hearing Healthcare
- 877-606-3742 Ext 2149
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