Adults with Hearing Loss at Higher Risk for Unemployment

Adults with Hearing Loss at Higher Risk for Unemployment

Dr. Molly Dillon Uncategorized

Dr. Molly Dillon

No one wants to be held back by their lack of hearing. However, statistics show that untreated hearing loss can significantly impact the opportunities open to us. Hearing loss has long been associated with lower wages and higher unemployment rates. New research continues to affirm the detrimental effect of hearing loss on an individual’s working life.

Unemployment & Hearing Loss

Anything which impacts your work performance can contribute to joblessness. Growing research investigates how hearing loss has this effect on individuals. 

Researchers explored the connection between hearing loss and jobs in a 2015 study published in the Journal of Otology and Neurotology. They analyzed the data obtained by the National Health and Nutrition Review Survey. Conducted between 1999-2002, this study interviewed over 3,000 people between 20 and 69.

The study found that significant economic deprivation is associated with hearing loss. Specifically, people with hearing loss relative to people without hearing loss were 1.58 times more likely to have a lower salary and 1.98 times more likely to be unemployed or underemployed.

These critical results indicate that individuals with hearing loss were almost twice as likely to be unemployed or underemployed. This leads to fewer earnings and potential financial pressure, and increased stress.

Why are higher levels of unemployment experienced by people with hearing loss?

There are several reasons why those with hearing loss face issues getting employment and staying employed.

Challenges getting employment

Hearing loss may have a detrimental effect on your earnings, but it can also, unfortunately, deter you from finding work in the first place. For those with untreated hearing loss, unemployment rates are higher than those with normal hearing or those with hearing treatment. 

It’s not hard to see why. Trouble hearing can affect performance during job interviews. It can put the individual out of the running entirely if their career is dependent on sharp hearing (think truck drivers, military personnel, or musicians). The condition can give rise to a host of mental and psychological issues, affecting confidence during interviews.

Challenges staying employed

Dealing with permanent hearing loss makes it challenging to understand colleagues at work. You may find it hard to keep up with developments at work. You’ll also find it difficult to recall what was said to your manager during meetings or a one-on-one interview.

Those with hearing loss find it difficult to distinguish between essential speech sounds and background noise. When you do not follow orders or attend meetings, you will not be able to do your best job, and staff with permanent hearing loss are more likely to make errors. They are frequently overlooked and are more likely than their listening peers to be let go.

What can we do to help job seekers and workers with hearing loss?

Employers can enact on-the-job accommodations that make it easier for workers with hearing impairments to remain in the loop. It is possible to apply these accommodations to work interviews on request.

For the person with hearing loss, they can do several things to boost their employment prospects.

Learn about your rights. Strict guidelines on what an employer may inquire about are given by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) legislation to ensure that those with hearing loss are not dismissed because of their condition. Nonetheless, an employer may inquire about the candidate’s ability to perform the job’s essential functions.

Using a hearing aid. Studies have shown that people who use hearing aids to treat hearing loss have the same earning power as their hearing peers. Using a pair will ensure you have one less thing to worry about in the weeks leading up to the interview or while on the job.

Hearing Loss Treatment

Although it is not possible to cure or restore most hearing loss, the good news is that managing hearing loss dramatically improves your hearing, improves cognitive capacity, and will help you keep up with everyday life. It is easier to handle the sooner you treat it, so it is vital to have a hearing specialist examine your hearing.

If you feel like hearing loss is getting in the way of your success in the workplace, now is the time to book a hearing test. Making excuses for not having a test is all too easy, but the fact is that hearing loss may harm your life in ways you don’t even know. To set up an appointment, contact us today.