A Quarter of Workers: 'Speak Up. I Can't Hear You'

October 12, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - A new survey by a manufacturer of products for the hearing impaired found that a quarter of workers polled had enough of a hearing loss that it affected their job performance.

The survey, sponsored by Clarity, found 67% of those whose hearing difficulty affected their work admitted their hearing loss was severe, and 42% termed their impairment moderate. Just 1% said their hearing loss affects their work “quite a bit.”

Workers with a hearing impairmentsaid their hearing loss impacts their ability to hear phone conversations (64%) and properly participate in talks with co-workers (61%). Some 19% mentioned it affects their ability to hear conversations in meetings.

The use of a work telephone was important (19%) or critically Important (16%) to 35% of all respondents, the poll found.

Despite the employees’ office difficulties, fewer than 5% have asked for their employers’ help to better deal with the problem.

Researchers said their finding that three-quarters of respondents insisted their hearing issue had no job performance impact may help explain why so few workers seek company assistance.

Other survey findings included:

  • A quarter of workers said their hearing issue impacted their earnings potential.
  • In general, the study found men were significantly more likely to report a hearing loss than were women (62% to 38%). Some 75% of those that reported a severe hearing loss were men.
  • Over one-half (57%) of boomers with cell phones said they have trouble hearing on their cell phone.

A total of 353 interviews were completed online from August 15 through August 28, 2006, and another 105 interviews were completed via telephone from August 15 through August 21, 2006.

The survey report is here .