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Hearing Loss and its Impact on Household Income

Growing up I learned that in order to do well in life I’d have to get a good education, spend long hours at work and make lots of sacrifices. But new research reveals that there is a much less obvious way to boost earnings: get your hearing tested and buy hearing aids if necessary.

A new survey by the Better Hearing Institute shows that working Americans who ignore their earing problems are losing at least $100 billion annually in earnings. Even people with mild hearing loss, who may miss a consonant or word here and there, will lose income if they can’t completely grasp the latest news at the water cooler or the subtle nuances in a phone message from their boss.

The truth is, whether your hearing problems is treated or not, you are likely to lose some income in the course of your working life. But the research reveals that, on average, the income decline is cut in half for hearing instrument wearers. The average amount of income lost by working people who don’t wear hearing instruments range from $1,000 a year (for those with a mild loss) to $12,000 a year (for those with a profound hearing loss).

Getting hearing instruments at a younger age reduces the chance of losing income. Of the 31 million Americans with hearing loss, only 37% are at retirement age. The rest are either in school or in the workforce. Hearing is a critical sense for effective learning and communication in both school and at work. Most situations require verbal communication in order to learn and engage in commerce; effective hearing is also critical to assure safety on the job. Without aided hearing the hearing-impaired individual can be expected to suffer losses in compensation, difficulty learning and may make mistakes on the job. Untreated hearing loss results in underachievement for nearly all who delay treatment while they are in the prime of their life. Yet right now only 1 out of 4 Americans with hearing problems are getting treatment.

People are still embarrassed to admit they have hearing problems and get hearing instruments. Some incorrectly believe that hearing instruments will make them seem old, different from their peers or less able to do the job than their co-workers. Untreated hearing loss is far more noticeable than hearing instruments. If you miss a punch line to a joke, or respond inappropriately in conversation, people may have concerns about your mental acuity, your attention span or your ability to communicate effectively. The tragedy is that untreated hearing loss impacts the individual and his/her family for life in the form of lost wages, lost promotions, lost opportunities, and unrealized dreams – not to mention lower income for their retirement.

If you haven’t paid much attention to the latest developments in hearing instruments, you will be surprised at how inconspicuous many of them are.

As Helen Keller said, “When you lose your vision, you lose contact with things. When you lose your hearing, you lose contact with people.”

Informtation for this article taken from, “The Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss on Income,” by Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., The Better Hearng Institute, Alexandria, VA.



About Adam Bernstein

Adam Bernstein is the owner of The Hearing Professionals, Milwaukee's premier hearing healthcare facility. As the owner of The Hearing Professionals, Mr. Bernstein has over 20 years of experience in the hearing healthcare industry. He began his career in 1995 at GN Danavox, one of the largest hearing aid manufacturers in the world. After leaving Danavox, Mr. Bernstein opened two hearing healthcare offices in Chicago, IL. In 2001 he moved to Milwaukee, WI and opened The Hearing Professionals. In 2008 he added a second Wisconsin office in the town of Brookfield. Today The Hearing Professionals is the largest private audiology practice in SE Wisconsin. Mr. Bernstein has written numerous articles on hearing healthcare which has appeared in newspapers throughout the country and has been interviewed by news programs regarding advances in the hearing industry. Mr. Bernstein a member of Unitron’s Customer Advisory Board and a graduate of The University of Minnesota. You can email him at and you can visit The Hearing Professionals at

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