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Research Indicates Relationship Between Hearing and Income

Have you heard? New research indicates that there may be a relationship between your hearing and your income. A new survey by the Better Hearing Institute shows that working Americans who ignore their hearing problems are losing at least $100 billion a year in earnings. Even people with mild hearing loss, who may miss a consonant here or a word there, may lose income if they cant completely grasp the latest news at the water cooler or a phone message from the boss.

The average amount of income lost by working people who dont get hearing aids ranges from $1,000 a yearfor those with mild hearing lossto $12,000 a year for those with profound hearing loss. However, on average, the income decline due to hearing loss can be cut in half by wearing a hearing aid, the research revealed. Getting a hearing aid at a younger age may also help reduce the chance of losing income. Many think of hearing loss as something that happens mainly to older people. However, most people with this problem are in the prime of life, including one out of six baby boomers (ages 41-59) and one out of 14 Gen-Xers (ages 29-40). Yet only one out of four Americans with hearing problems are getting treatment. Many people are embarrassed to admit they have hearing problems and might need hearing aids, experts say. Some incorrectly think a hearing aid will make them seem odd or less able to do the job than their co-workers.

If you seem out of touch because you cant hear very well, you will be much more noticeable than you would be with a modern hearing device in your ear, says Dr. Sergei Kochkin, the Better Hearing Institutes executive director. In the workplace, he points out, good communications skills are essential, particularly when it comes to understanding what customers and co-workers want. Other research shows that untreated hearing problems disrupt family life, hamper emotional intimacy and increase the chances of psychological problems.

To learn more, visit the Better Hearing Institute Web site, www.betterhearing.org, or call their helpline at 1-800-EARWELL for a Guide to Better Hearing.

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