12 August 2011

Hearing loss increases the risk of incapacity benefit

People who have been sick because of hearing problems have a greater risk of becoming disability pensioners than others who are sick. Those are the findings of a study in Sweden.

Researchers from The Karolinska Institute in Sweden have followed a range of people who in the course of a year were all sick for more than a week. In all, this included 40,786 people, of whom 515 were sick because of a hearing-related diagnosis. 12 years later, the researchers can conclude that of these 515 people, 36% of those who were sick went on to become disability pensioners, contra only 24% of the collected group of people.

”We can show that there is a higher risk of incapacity benefit among those with a hearing related diagnosis, than among those with another diagnosis,” says Klas Gustafsson of The Karolinska Institute.

Furthermore, the study also shows that it is especially women with hearing difficulties who are at risk of becoming disability pensioners.

More research needed

The researchers behind the study point out that further research is needed in the marginalisation of those with hearing difficulties. It is important to put preventative measures in place so that fewer end up as disability pensioners. As of yet, the researchers do not yet know if the risk is greater within certain businesses or jobs than in others.

Other studies are already working on this, says Klas Gustafsson

Source: Auris - tidskrift för hörselskadade, nr. 3 2011

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