Can Untreated Hearing Loss Impact Your Career?

workplace hearing loss

Anyone who has suffered from hearing loss for long enough knows that it can have a profound impact on seemingly unrelated aspects of life, including work. 

Experts have known for a long time that hearing loss can have a profound effect on an individual’s ability to communicate with others. Hearing loss makes it challenging to understand the nuances of what’s being said and can reduce the cognitive capacity of the brain to respond in suitable ways. Hearing loss can also have an impact on family relationships, making it more difficult for people to communicate with each other about how they feel. 

Hearing loss may affect the psychosocial status

But while the research on the interpersonal effects of hearing loss is reasonably well developed, there’s an emerging body of evidence which suggests that hearing loss can have a profound impact on the ability of individuals to progress in the workplace

Most jobs require some degree of verbal interaction with others. Managers often use these verbal cues as a bellwether of an employee’s ability to progress further in the workplace and perform more demanding roles. People with hearing loss, however, may struggle to communicate effectively, making them less appealing candidates for progression in the eyes of managers. A lack of progress could lead to declines in the amount that people with hearing loss get paid for their work, impacting their prospects and financial freedom. 

Employment income is related to hearing loss

Sergei Kocklin, the executive director of the Better Hearing Institute, conducted a study to see whether workplace compensation was related to the degree of hearing loss of a broad cross-section of individuals. 

The results suggest that at the mildest levels of hearing loss, there is little to no fall in compensation received. But as hearing loss worsens, he noted that income tends to fall compared to other individuals matched for similar characteristics (like education and age). 

For people with the most severe hearing loss, the fall in income is most substantial. Kocklin reports that those in the worst decile for hearing loss saw their wages fall by more than $14,000 per year compared to those with the mildest hearing loss. 

Hearing loss affects a person’s career

Hearing loss, therefore, can affect a person’s career in many ways. Not only does it make the task of doing most jobs most difficult by reducing an individual’s ability to communicate, but it also leads to substantial drops in income. Those with the most severe hearing loss experience the most significant falls, on average. 

Correcting hearing loss is, therefore, a priority. Improving your hearing can lead to dramatic improvements in your ability to communicate with colleagues at work, making it more likely that you’ll be able to progress. People who do not deal with hearing loss run the risk of being left behind. 

If you think that you might have hearing loss, then it’s vital that you visit your audiologist. The audiologist will be able to determine the nature and extent of hearing loss and provide you with hearing aids.