A Hearing Loss & Late Deafened Blog

Have you heard the latest?

In Employment, Hearing Loss on February 21, 2008 at 1:28 am

Did you hear the latest?  According to a recent study published by the Better Hearing Institute, your earning power can be severely impacted by hearing loss.  Those with profound hearing loss may be earning up to $20,000 a year less than their hearing colleagues.   Studies indicated that the more hearing loss a person suffered, the more their income was impacted.

Hearing is crucial for most every type of job. Nearly every career situation requires dealing with the public and other employees.  The ability to hear may also be necessary for job safety.  Without hearing aids or implants a person may miss out on important inter-office communications, new safety policies and even just the regular social bonding that takes place in the lunchroom– and the usual watercooler chit-chat.  (AND We all know one’s social standing in the office is often far more important when applying for a promotion than work history.)

People with hearing loss may continue to make procedure mistakes because of hearing misunderstandings, and they may at times appear socially inept or awkward.  Continuing on the job stress from lack of hearing may lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, loss of self-esteem and social isolation that can negatively impact on the job performance.

Often people with hearing loss put off getting hearing aids because of vanity and fear people will realize they have hearing loss.  What they don’t realize is you cannot hide a hearing loss.  Most everyone around you knows.  In the meantime, while you’re trying to hide your “secret” wonderful opportunities are passing you by.

The good news is depending on the severity of hearing loss, those with hearing aids or cochlear implants could earn as much as, or nearly what their hearing counterparts earned.  Moreover, they felt more confident to pursue promotions, had higher self-esteem and felt less stress in the workplace. 

  1. Unfortunately, this is so true. Its very difficult for the person with hearing loss to get past an interview and prove themselves. Many times we work as hard if not harder to prove that we are more than capable of performing our jobs. However, those who are too vain to get hearing aids, make our lives more complicated. They do not realize how they come across and the article above says it so well.

  2. Wow, is this true – and it hits home too! The only thing I would add to it is that it isn’t *always* a case of “denial” when someone (for instance, me) needs HAs and doesn’t get them. In my case, I’m very aware of the impacts (the social ones are the worst!!!), and I know I need HAs but can’t self-finance them yet – and though there are ways to get public assistance, it’s an uphill battle (and yes, I’m fighting it tooth and nail)!

    Great post, Butterfly! 🙂

  3. “The good news is depending on the severity of hearing loss, those with hearing aids or cochlear implants could earn as much as, or nearly what their hearing counterparts earned.”

    I couldn’t accept this without unbiased statistical evidence, because in my personal experience and those of my equally Deaf, non-aided and non-implanted friends, we earn the same as our hearing peers in competitive work. This is because we are comparable in technical skill.

    Moreover, when employed in work with Deaf children or adults, Deaf professionals frequently enjoy higher status, effectiveness and pay than their hearing peers because of the advantage of understanding what it is like being deaf.

    It may be due to some audistic workplaces that qualified Deaf workers are earning less or promoted less, so this shouldn’t be explained by the lack of cochlear implants or hearing aids. All it takes is a boss that appreciates the work of his deaf employees. And it takes a honest statistician to properly evaluate this with an unbiased sample.

  4. Dianrez,
    This is an excellent point. I didn’t see any references made to the ASL community employed in Deaf companies. However, I believe the purpose of the study was to assess the impact of hearing loss on late-deafened individuals, not the impact of Deafness on overall employment. Sorry for the confusion

    People who grow up speaking English and have established careers when their hearing begins to decline are the most vulnerable in the workplace. The born Deaf are much better prepared by that time as they’ve grown up “in the system” working through the accommodations nightmare. Late-deafened often don’t even know the ADA exists to help them.

  5. LifeWrecked,
    I’ll also point out that many people in the process of losing their hearing, like my husband, have wild fluctuations, which makes aiding difficult.

  6. I would like to add that I am HOH since birth and my hearing level has been stable all of my life. I got my first hearing aids at age 25. I am now 56, have the best hearing aids I’ve ever found … but still don’t hear everything. A couple of years ago, I was not earning what my counterparts were, and was released from my position because of my “quirky” personality. I would guess this was an indication of the social ineptness that still haunts me today. I’m really very good at my profession, but I don’t always seem to get along with my coworkers. I do think that is seen as more important than skill sometimes.

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