Hearing loss causing difficulty at work

Workers with untreated mild or moderate hearing loss suffer from psychological and social problems in the workplace.

Working adults with mild or moderate hearing loss may be adversely affected at work unless they use hearing aids, according to an Italian study.

The study was based on a comparison of 73 people with hearing loss and 96 people with normal hearing. The two groups were similar in their composition with respect to gender, age and occupation.

Those with hearing loss experienced greater problems in the workplace, emotionally as well as socially. This was demonstrated by a higher prevalence of signs of depression, anxiety, sensitivity and hostility in the hearing impaired group than in the group of people with normal hearing.

The emotional effects of hearing loss generally resulted in hearing impaired workers having difficulty functioning in socially challenging situations commonly found at work.

For many, the result was a vicious circle, as difficulty fitting into the social environment at work often led to a sense of isolation and inferiority. This, in turn, adversely affected the general health and quality of life of those with hearing loss.

Based on these findings, workers with mild and moderate hearing loss have good reason to consider investing in a hearing aid. A number of studies have found that hearing aids offer considerable benefits in terms of quality of life. But equally important is an open dialogue between individual hearing impaired worker, co-workers and management in order for all of them to help maintain the best possible conditions for a healthy and productive work environment.

Source:”Psychological Profile and Social Behaviour of Working Adults with Mild or Moderate Hearing Loss”, Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital., April 2008

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