December 6, 2010

Hearing Loss and Cognition

Parker,-Molly-NEWBy Dr. Molly Parker
Don White Hearing Aid Center

Does your hearing loss affect your salary?

According to the Better Hearing Institute (, research has established a link between hearing loss and unemployment. There is a need for understanding the impact of untreated hearing loss in work and educational situations, especially given the range of hearing loss.

The relationship of hearing loss to ability to learn speech and language is well known. The effect of not hearing is obvious for children at school. Less known is how different levels of hearing loss affect salary and advancement for the adult. Sergi MarketTrak VII from the National Family Opinion Panel compared the salaries of aided and unaided hearing loss.

Not surprising, Sergi’s MarkeTrak VII found that the greater the hearing loss, the less income was earned. Even mild hearing loss had a real effect on the salary of the individual. Hearing loss can impact the individual on so many different levels. For example, one may not hear general office gossip and not be able to take advantage of opportunities that may have otherwise come her way. Missing out on the nuances of speech can cause an employee react inappropriately and even appear foolish. Add up these reactions and that can cause one to miss a big sale, or even a promotion. Hearing loss can make one appear forgetful or disorganized when in reality they did not hear the entire set of instructions or the discussion itself.

In the MarkeTrak VII study ,it was found that the use of hearing aids increased income significantly as hearing loss became more severe. On average, hearing aids reduce income loss by nearly 50%–the effects were less for very mild hearing loss and more for more severe hearing loss. The next time you realize that you did not hear everything, please know that hearing aids provide significant help to the individual so that they are not exerting as much effort with listening in the work place. You may not get the promotion immediately, but it will allow you to hear more discussion more easily. This will have a real impact on your career over a period of time.

Here are some signs of hearing loss.

1. You frequently ask for repetition
2. You find you need to sit close to the speaker to hear them clearly
3. You react inappropriately in some situations
4. You have an overly loud voice
5. Your television or telephone must be louder than what others typically have

In 2011, improve your opportunities and build your personal fortunes by investing in appropriate amplification if it is appropriate.

Dr. Molly Parker is an audiologist with Parker Audiology, PC (Don White Hearing Aid Service). She can be reached at 563-326-5441 or