How offering employees hearing benefits can contribute to holistic health and prevent unexpected medical costs
Thinking about the prevalence of hearing loss and its profound effects on people can give perspective on how important it is to offer employees hearing benefits. Hearing loss is among the most common work-related illnesses1 and approximately 12 percent of the U.S. working population has hearing difficulty.2 Furthermore, because hearing health and overall health are connected, hearing loss may lead to other potentially costly health issues including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, smoking, prescription drugs, social isolation, dementia, and depression.1, 3–5 While some of these health conditions or health-related decisions increase the risk of hearing loss, others may be caused—at least in part—by hearing loss, especially when left untreated.
Hearing health and employee wellness
Whether listening to music at high volume through earbuds or working in factories with continuous exposure to loud sounds from machinery, many employees are at risk of noise-induced hearing loss.
The sheer volume of employees at risk for hearing loss, compounded by hearing loss being an often undiagnosed and untreated condition, can pose potentially significant issues for companies. People with hearing loss often delay or avoid taking action for various reasons, including potential stigmas and not wanting others to know they have a hearing problem.
Compensating for hearing loss can also make it difficult for employees to concentrate and focus—causing potential productivity, safety, and other issues on the job and at home.
Why to offer employees hearing benefits
Offering your employees hearing benefits is an important way to incorporate hearing health into whole-person wellness and help prevent downstream medical costs. While many health conditions share a link with hearing loss, workplace injuries represent a significant financial burden—in terms of lost productivity and increased costs for medical care and workers’ compensation for many employers.
The potentially collective impact of hearing loss underscores why employers should make hearing loss prevention a top priority. It’s equally as important to provide a high-quality hearing health care via a hearing benefit that can help ensure that employees get the treatment they need.
UPMC Health Plan can help
UPMC Health Plan partners with Amplifon Hearing Health Care to offer comprehensive hearing benefits for your employees. To learn more about our hearing insurance benefits offered through employer group coverage, contact your producer or account manager or call 1-833-825-2696.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Noise and hearing loss prevention. Reviewed Feb. 6, 2018. Accessed April 28, 2022. cdc.gov/niosh/topics/noise/preventhearingloss/default.html
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Occupational hearing loss surveillance. Reviewed Dec. 2, 2021. Accessed April 28, 2022. cdc.gov/niosh/topics/ohl/
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes and hearing loss. Reviewed Oct. 13, 2021. Accessed April 28, 2022. cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/diabetes-hearing-loss.html
4 Schoenborn CA, Kathleen Heyman K. Health disparities among adults with hearing loss: United States, 2000-2006. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reviewed Nov. 6, 2015. Accessed April 28, 2022. cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/hearing00-06/hearing00-06.htm
5 National Institute on Aging. Hearing loss: a common problem for older adults. Reviewed Nov. 20, 2018. Accessed May 2, 2022. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/hearing-loss-common-problem-older-adults