People with Hearing Loss Make Less Money, Survey Finds
Use of Hearing Aids Restores Lost Income by 50 Percent
Contact: Sergei Kochkin (703) 684-3391
Alexandria, VA, May 15, 2007 – Americans with hearing loss make less money than people with normal hearing, but wearing a hearing aid reduces the amount of income lost, according to a national study released today by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI). The findings of the "Impact of Hearing Loss on Household Income" study were presented at The National Press Club.
Untreated hearing loss was shown to negatively affect household income, on-average, by nearly $23,000 per year depending on the degree of hearing loss, the survey found. But the use of hearing aids mitigated the effects of hearing loss on income by about 50 percent, according to the study findings. The survey included nearly 2,000 adults with untreated hearing loss, 2,000 with hearing aids, and nearly 40,000 with normal hearing.
This is the first study to document the direct correlation between income loss and hearing loss. It demonstrates that hearing loss has a significant impact on people's ability to earn a livelihood and underscores the importance of treating hearing loss as early as possible.
Among the study's key findings:
- While people with treated and untreated hearing loss both earn less than people with normal hearing, for people with more severe hearing loss, the income decline is cut in half for hearing aid owners. For example, the difference in income between people with mild versus profound hearing loss is $20,300 per year for those with untreated hearing loss and $10,200 for those with hearing aids.
- For every 10 percent increment in hearing loss, the difference in income disparity between those with untreated hearing loss and those with hearing aids increases at the rate of approximately $1,000.
- The estimated cost in lost earnings due to untreated hearing loss is $122 billion, with the cost to the government in unrealized federal taxes at $18 billion.
- Currently, more than 24 million people in the United States who say they have hearing loss do not use hearing aids.
"We've known for a long time that hearing loss takes a toll on people's quality of life and on their ability to socialize and enjoy everyday pleasures like going to a movie or visiting family during holidays," said Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., executive director of BHI. "Now, this study shows how untreated hearing loss also is a dollar and cents issue. Untreated hearing loss is a financial liability. It hits people directly in their pocketbooks."
The hearing loss population in the United States has grown to 31.5 million people. Hearing loss among "baby boomers" has increased significantly to approximately 15 percent of those ages 45 through 64.
The "Hearing Loss on Household Income" study is based on data from 53,000 members of the National Family Opinion (NFO) panel. The panel is balanced to the latest Census data.
Dr. Kochkin said: "People with untreated hearing loss in the workplace may not realize why they are being passed over for promotion. They mistakenly believe that hiding their hearing loss on the job is an effective strategy for getting ahead. As a result bosses may overlook the person with untreated hearing loss, thinking they are not alert simply because the individual's communication on the job is deficient. We know that untreated hearing loss is infinitely more noticeable than hearing aids in the workplace."
Founded in 1973, BHI is a not-for-profit educational organization whose mission is to educate the public about hearing loss, its treatment and prevention.
To download a copy of the "Impact of Hearing Loss on Household Income" study, or to find out more about BHI and solutions to hearing problems, visit the BHI website at www.betterhearing.org.
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Founded in 1973, the Better Hearing Institute is a not-for-profit educational organization whose mission is to educate the public about hearing loss, its treatment and prevention. To receive a free copy of BHI’s 28 page booklet "Your Guide to Better Hearing," visit its website at www.betterhearing.org
or call the Better Hearing Institute hotline at 1-800-EAR-WELL.