28 Jul Hearing Changes in our Economic Landscape
Canada has reached the point where hearing health must become a workplace wellness imperative. The Canadian economy now depends largely on employment that demands good communications skills. Service and knowledge-based work has become increasingly dominant, people are providing service on the phone, over computers, and through electronic systems on a regional, national and now even global scale.
The ability to communicate clearly and effectively is tied to economic success and good business practice.
Canada also is experiencing a demographic shift toward a maturing labor force. People are staying in the workforce longer; baby boomers on the threshold of their golden years are actively seeking employment or re-employment or are still working and delaying retirement. The rate at which young people are entering the job market is slowing as a result of an ageing population. What’s more, just as we’re seeing this convergence of economic circumstances, we also are witnessing an increase in adult hearing loss at younger ages.
Already, over 3 million Canadians suffer from hearing loss. The majority of them are in the workforce. And according to recent surveys from hearing health groups in the USA, more than 10 percent of full-time employees have a diagnosed hearing problem. Another 30 percent suspect they have a problem but have not sought treatment. Those percentages are similarly true for Canadian workers.
The Hazards of Untreated Hearing Loss
By limiting one’s ability to communicate effectively, untreated hearing loss can unnecessarily affect productivity, job performance, and earnings; lead to fatigue and distress; restrict interpersonal interactions; make it difficult to receive and interpret auditory information from computers, machines, and individuals; pose a risk to one’s ability to hear sounds that signal hazards in the work environment; increase sick leave and disengagement from work; and diminish overall quality of life.
What’s more, an increased risk of hearing loss is tied to three of the most significant wellness concerns of family physicians: obesity, diabetes, and smoking. A national BHI study even found that people with untreated hearing loss lose income, and it is dependent on their degree of hearing loss. The more severe the untreated loss, the more income can be lost.
Why Addressing Hearing Loss Needs to Happen Now
Fortunately, when treated, hearing loss is largely manageable. The vast majority of people with hearing loss will benefit from hearing aids.
Eight out of ten hearing aid users say they’re satisfied with the changes that have occurred in their lives specifically due to their hearing aids.
In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, where organizations are coming to rely more heavily on maturing workers who have valuable experience and expertise, the need to address and treat hearing loss is critical.