Hearing loss can mean a lower income and higher prevalence of unemployment in people who do not use hearing aids. Unemployment is, however, not higher among hearing aid users than among those with normal hearing. Hearing aid users’ income is also almost as high as among people without hearing loss. This is shown in a study from the USA. The study also estimates that the loss of income for people with untreated hearing loss in the US is $176 billion.
In the US the MarkeTrak VIII study of more than 40,000 households has demonstrated that hearing loss has a deleterious impact on earnings and unemployment rates.
The study shows that there is a $14,100 income differential between subjects with mild and severe hearing loss. People with untreated hearing loss lose as much as $30,000 annually, depending on their degree of hearing loss.
Hearing aids were shown to mitigate the impact of income loss by 90%–100% for those with milder hearing losses and from 65%–77% for those with severe to moderate hearing loss.
The loss in income for people with untreated hearing loss due to underemployment is estimated at $176 billion, and the cost to society is estimated to be as high as $26 billion in unrealized federal taxes.
There was a strong relationship between degree of hearing loss and unemployment for unaided subjects. Those with severe hearing loss had unemployment rates of 15.6%, double that of the normal-hearing population (7.8%) and nearly double that of their aided peers (8.3%). Thus, one would expect that the cost to society of unemployment benefit payments is double that for normal-hearing households, depending on degree of hearing loss.
Unemployment rates for aided subjects were not significantly related to degree of hearing loss.
Source: The Hearing Journal, October 2010, Volume 63, Issue 10