Health, wealth and happiness! We are always in pursuit and balance of these notions and rightly so. Let’s keep in mind that our health really lays the foundation for everything we need to pursue what is important in our lives.
As we age and accumulate experience, friends, extended family members, and the financial security we work so hard to achieve, we must continually protect the health of our hearing. It plays a pivotal role for all that we endeavor to do and to retain a fuller life experience.
The World Health Organization urges us to address the issue of hearing loss.
As part of their agenda to address this issue, studies have shown that “unaddressed hearing loss poses an annual global cost of US$ 750 billion. This includes health sector costs (excluding the cost of hearing devices), costs of educational support, loss of productivity, and societal costs.” The following article will first explore the economic repercussions of hearing loss.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a cyclical survey, that occurs every 2 years and is taken across a spectrum of Americans. It is a representative assessment of the health of US civilians. From the year 1999 to 2002, a study was made on adult participants between the ages of 20 to 69. Four years’ worth of data was analyzed on those that head hearing loss and those without it and included an audiometric evaluation and income questionnaire. The results showed that those with hearing loss earned an average of $8,000.00 less than those that didn’t suffer hearing loss.
Further studies on the subject have been promoted since we are currently experiencing hearing loss as one of the top three health concerns in the nation asides from diabetes and cancer. In fact, there are, “About 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids” according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “About 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids”
As far as back as 2006 a study was published in the EU, known as the ‘Evaluation of the Social and Economic Costs of Hearing Impairment’. It concluded that “The employment rate of hearing-impaired people was lower than that of the general population, and more hearing impaired than hearing persons were employed in lower status and lower-paid jobs.” Alongside that, there were costs to society as far as output in productivity due to neglected hearing loss, discrimination, unemployment, and underemployment.
The study estimated that “The cost to the EU of reduced quality of life due to unaided hearing loss of 25 dB and above was estimated to be 224 billion euros; for Europe as a whole (EU plus 14 other countries/ principalities) it was 284 billion euros (in 2004).”
But the most important takeaway from the study was that hearing-impaired people were on average earning only 85% of those without hearing loss.
Quality of Life
Hearing loss creates a complexity of barriers to our lives. One of the most negative aspects of hearing loss is the way it changes our interactions with others. Studies have been done on the impact. Medical research has shown a correlation between hearing loss and dementia and cognitive decline.
What we must keep in mind is that hearing loss, if left untreated, becomes compounded. If we treat the condition as soon as it is diagnosed then it gives us ways to compensate for hearing loss and be able to navigate once familiar social gatherings and engage in social discourse as before. Studies conducted by the CDC have concluded that hearing loss results in a lower quality of life with many sufferers showing the following symptoms:
- Emotional reactions, such as loneliness, isolation, dependence, frustration, depression, anxiety, anger, embarrassment, frustration, and guilt
- Behavioral reactions, such as bluffing, withdrawing, blaming, and demanding
- Cognitive reactions, such as confusion, difficulty focusing, distracting thoughts, decreased self-esteem, and communication disorders.
The Good News
Both studies strongly emphasize the benefits of early detection to slow down the effects of hearing loss and help sustain our natural hearing. A varied amount of options such as listening devices, cochlear implants, and educational and social support are at our disposal. While working with hearing loss can be intimidating, the law is on the right side of those willing to integrate into a workplace and policies are in place to allow them the tools they need to flourish. The EU study of 2006 emphatically states that,” The use of hearing aids benefitted many aspects of quality of life, including improving communication and other listening situations, and having a positive effect upon social, emotional, psychological and physical well-being.”
Atlanta Hearing Doctor
Join us at Atlanta Hearing Doctor for an appointment to get you started on retaining your health, wealth and happiness. We are here to give you someone close to you the assistance needed to attend to your overall well-being. An assessment for your specific needs is a good start and we look forward to receiving your call!