Hearing Loss Significantly Impacting
Work, Home Life for Baby Boomers - Part 1
Editor: Here's some information about a study done by the EAR
Foundation and Clarity. Their main findings are that hearing loss is much
more prevalent among boomers than previously thought, and that most
boomers who have hearing loss aren't doing much about it. <sigh>
This is part one of two parts.
Hearing Loss is Affecting Success at Work and Enjoyment at Home, Very
Few Seek Help
A survey released today by The EAR Foundation and Clarity(R) reveals
that hearing loss has become a serious health issue for aging Baby Boomers
-- impacting their work and home lives -- yet most are not seeking
help.(Graphic: Business Wire)
A survey released today at the AARP Life@50+ Conference by The EAR
Foundation and Clarity(r) reveals that hearing loss has become a serious
health issue for aging Baby Boomers -- impacting their work and home lives
-- yet most are not seeking help.
This survey is the second phase of a widely publicized study conducted
in 2004 by The EAR Foundation and Clarity(r) that indicated nearly half of
the 76 million Baby Boomers in the U.S. are experiencing some degree of
hearing loss - more widespread than previously estimated.
The new survey not only confirms the prevalence of hearing loss among
Baby Boomers, it reveals that hearing loss is significantly impacting
their lives at work, home and while traveling and is affecting men much
more than women (62% to 38%).
Some key findings:
* Almost one-fourth (23%) of these individuals said their hearing loss
is affecting their success in the workplace, while 25% said hearing loss
is affecting their earning potential. The areas of their work that are
most affected are hearing and understanding phone calls and conversations
* 40% of the individuals who reported having a hearing loss said that
it has affected their home life in many ways, such as having conversations
with loved ones. 65% said they have trouble hearing the television.
Watching TV with others and social gatherings are the areas that Boomers
with hearing loss avoid most.
* More than half (57%) of those with a hearing loss said they often
have difficulty hearing on a cell phone.
"Hearing loss is a silent health issue, often overlooked and left
unresolved," said Suzanne Wyatt, executive director of The EAR
Foundation, a national nonprofit devoted to hearing loss education and
prevention. "This survey illustrates how hearing loss is compromising
the quality of life for millions across the country, as well as impacting
their performance and productivity on the job. Individuals, businesses and
the government must become more attuned to the seriousness of hearing loss
in our society and the steps they can take to help improve the
Reluctance to Seek Solutions
The survey shows that most people who are having difficulty hearing are
not taking the necessary steps to visit an audiologist, have their hearing
tested and/or seek treatment. Only 26% of those who said they have
difficulty hearing have actually had their hearing loss formally diagnosed
by a medical professional. Furthermore, 37% of the individuals said they
have not even had their hearing tested. Only 42% of those who reportedly
have a severe hearing loss wear hearing aids.
"Unlike when someone is losing their vision and they realize they
can't see as well as before, hearing loss can be blamed on others for not
speaking clearly or setting the TV volume too low," said Carsten
Trads, president of Clarity, a leading supplier of solutions for the
hearing loss community. "As a result, people with a hearing loss
often avoid getting their hearing tested or exploring solutions, like
hearing aids or amplified telephones, for seven to ten years."
The survey also examines why these individuals are not seeking solutions.
According to the report, less than one-fourth (23%) who have been told by
their doctor that they should wear a hearing aid actually wear one.
One-third (32%) indicate that they do not wear a hearing aid because of
cost and/or the fact that the devices are not covered by Medicare,
Medicaid or private insurance carriers.
Hearing at Work
For many individuals with a hearing loss, the workplace is a very
difficult environment. The survey reveals that one-fourth of those who
have difficulty hearing said it affects their work. Furthermore,
one-fourth said their hearing loss has had an impact on their earning
"Hearing loss can have a significant impact on productivity in the
workplace," commented Wyatt. "From conversations with coworkers
to conference calls, it is an obstacle at work for many people. To keep
this talent in the workforce - especially the aging Baby Boomers -
companies should look to help their employees."
Phone calls (64%) and conversations with co-workers (61%) are the areas
most impacted by hearing loss, reports the survey. Despite the problems
this creates at the workplace, the survey indicates that fewer than 5%
have actually asked their employer for help regarding their hearing loss.
"Solutions like amplified telephones and other communication
devices are available to employers," continued Trads. "Employers
should realize these solutions can dramatically improve the productivity
of their employees. Likewise, employees need to request these solutions
from their employers. It is a win-win situation for the entire