Health benefits are a top priority for most employers, but hearing health is often overlooked.
According to Tuned, a hearing care benefits provider, approximately 50 million Americans need hearing care, with 30 million of them between 18 and 65 years old. In fact, 10% of millennials and 7% of Gen-Xers already have hearing problems, while 25% of employees suffer from tinnitus.
Despite this, most commercial health plans provide limited coverage for the most severe hearing conditions and no coverage for preventive measures or early intervention. In fact, of the 92% of workers Tuned surveyed who received health benefits from their employer, fewer than 30% had access to hearing care.
Remote Work Exacerbates the Problem
With more people than ever working remotely the hearing loss problem is likely to worsen before it gets better. That’s because when people are working from home, they often use headphones or earbuds to block out ambient noise and stay focused.
This can lead to auditory fatigue, which is when the brain becomes overwhelmed by sound and has difficulty processing it. This often causes additional problems, including headaches, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. It can also cause changes in sleeping patterns and increase the risk of accidents.
According to Tuned’s survey, 74% of the people surveyed said they felt auditory fatigue at the end of the day, and 61% admitted that they needed to take breaks from their work to relieve the symptoms.
How Employers Can Help
Hearing care should be a priority for employers for both moral and economic reasons. Providing employees with access to hearing care can help them stay healthy and productive while reducing healthcare costs.
There are several ways employers can help employees with hearing loss, including:
- Providing access to hearing care: This can be done through an employee assistance program or by partnering with a hearing healthcare provider.
- Implementing workplace and remote work policies that discourage the use of headphones and earbuds for extended periods. Employees should also have access to quiet spaces where they can take breaks from the noise.
- Educating employees to be aware of the dangers of auditory fatigue, how to prevent and where to go for help if they think they’re experiencing symptoms.
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Copyright © 2022 Smarts Publishing. This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.