90.5 WESA Pittsburgh's NPR News Station
By ESSENTIAL PITTSBURGH
A new research survey by EPIC Hearing Healthcare finds that 30 percent of U.S. employees suspect they have hearing loss, but have not sought treatment.
Of those, almost 95 percent say it impacts them on the job yet many go out of their way to hide their hearing loss for fear of losing their job.
Pittsburgh audiologist, Dr. Suzanne Yoder says preconceived notions about hearing loss is what hinders most people from getting the help they need.
“Hearing loss unfortunately has that bad reputation where people feel like if they admit they have a hearing problem, they’re going to be seen as being old, which is something that they don’t want. Or, they’ll be seen as less capable, that their employer will think less of them, or treat them differently, maybe not give them that promotion. The sad thing is, it’s actually the reverse. You treat your hearing loss and you deal with the issues, you’re more likely to earn a better living. There’s research to back that up, that shows there’s a loss of salary for those with untreated hearing loss. It’s extremely important to go out and start dealing with it and not bluffing your way through conversations. The reality is, when you bluff, when you pretend, you end up looking worse.”
Dr. Yoder, herself born with hearing loss that wasn’t diagnosed until she was school-aged, tells listeners that it is never too early in life to get your hearing checked, especially if your profession involves loud or even repetitive noises. She also recommends hearing protection, especially for musicians, to whom she recommends special headphones.
“Many people put it off until it’s a big problem, and that’s exactly the wrong thing to do. You want to get evaluated before it becomes a really big problem.”