When you don’t experience hearing issues, it can be easy to take your hearing for granted. However, chances are that at least one person— if not several people— within your organization struggle with the effects of hearing loss on a daily basis.
In fact, 37.5 million American adults, which works out to roughly 15%, have reported dealing with some kind of hearing loss. And did you know that 25.8 million adults across the country could benefit from the use of a hearing aid? Hearing loss is a widespread issue across our country today.
But what does this mean for you as an employer? How does hearing loss affect your day-to-day operations, and what can be done about it?
Poor Hearing Health Can Affect Morale and Even Turnover
Hearing loss is incredibly isolating. If someone is having a hard time hearing, they may withdraw rather than ask for a second, or even third or fourth time for a coworker to repeat themselves.
Those with hearing loss are affected in all of their relationships, losing the ability to have a conversation with family members or friends with ease, or ask questions or check in at work. Some experience wage loss. Many are embarrassed about their hearing loss, equating hearing issues with aging or losing vitality. As a result of this isolation, many adults with hearing loss also experience depression and lowered morale as well.
Some of your team members may be so embarrassed by their hearing loss that they may choose to leave the workplace instead of confronting hearing issues. Hearing loss even increases the risk of early retirement.
Team members with hearing issues also fear that the cost of hearing aids is too high and not worth the investment, and choose to withdraw and leave their job rather than invest in hearing aids. This means you lose a great member of your team.
It also means higher turnover and more time spent hiring as well. With proper hearing health, you have less turnover and are more likely to hang onto valuable employees for a longer period of time.
Hearing Loss Affects Productivity
We’ve already established that hearing loss can cause depression. So what does hearing loss, and the resulting depression this mean for productivity? There’s a major correlation between depression and absenteeism, cognitive dysfunction, and even how mentally present and clear-minded people are.
Not only does this affect morale, but it can also have a serious impact on what is accomplished within your organization.
Good hearing health can also mean that there is less time spent on clarifying instructions or questions for the sake of someone with hearing loss. It means better productivity and a more well-balanced workplace.
Hearing Issues Create Major Safety Issues
Another way that hearing health can benefit your organization? There’s less chance of an injury or accident when your team has strong hearing health. As you walk, your ear picks up tiny cues about the world around you, which aids in balance, helping prevent a loss of balance or a fall.
Additionally? If someone within your organization has hearing loss, this means that their brain has to work that much harder to navigate in order to compensate for missing out on those helpful sounds, leaving them distracted and more susceptible to falls.
Compromised balance is a huge risk, not only for your employees but for your organization as well. Diminished balance means more of a chance of falling, creating safety issues for everyone on your team.
Also? If you have members of your organization who have hearing loss, they are less likely to hear a warning call in a dangerous situation. Without hearing a warning about a wet spot on the floor, or a call about a falling object, these team members have less notice to react to the danger ahead. Good hearing health means that there is less chance of this kind of accident and a safer workplace.
How You Can Help
There are a lot of ways that you can promote good hearing health and help those already dealing with hearing loss:
- Setting aside resources and researching occupational hearing loss in your organization
- Integrating hearing care into your employee health system. This can also include baseline and regular hearing tests to monitor hearing changes
- Increase awareness about hearing loss and build human resource capacity to help those with hearing loss
- Help those with hearing loss regain some of their lost ability with financial support for hearing devices
Still not sure? Check out how your investment can pay for itself in no time with our employer return-on-investment calculator or contact us today to see how you can support your employees to discover their very best hearing health – for their sake and the sake of your organization, too.