Research has indicated that many teachers are left with
those sounds ringing in their ears long after they’ve retired for the evening.
While it may seem surprising, teachers do have an
exceedingly high level of exposure to loud noises, mainly those that come from
working with children. Try to imagine the noise level of just a few kids of
your own. Now try to imagine if you had a revolving group of 25 children crowded
into one room of your house. Not including assemblies and fire drills and
announcements, a school is an exceedingly loud environment.
A 2015 report from EPIC Hearing Healthcare showed that 15
percent of teachers reported a diagnosed hearing loss, compared to 12 percent
of workers nationwide. That might not seem like a large difference, but EPIC
also found teachers between the ages of 18 and 44 reported a higher rate of
diagnosed hearing problems (26 percent) than the national average (17 percent).
That 9 percent difference is evidence that a teacher’s work environment is a
major contributing factor to their hearing difficulties.
More than half of the teachers who suspected but never
treated their hearing loss admitted to asking people to frequently repeat
themselves. One-third of them frequently misunderstood what was said and
one-fourth reported feeling stressed or tired from the strain of listening or
talking over an extended period of time.
A concerning issue is why these teachers have not visited a
hearing health practitioner to have their hearing assessed. More than half of
teachers surveyed reported that they would be concerned if their employer
suspected them of having hearing loss. Another factor could be the cost of
hearing devices. Since only 19 percent of teachers were offered hearing
insurance from their employers, the cost of hearing aids or check-ups might not
be covered under their health insurance plan.
These findings reinforce a 2007 study conducted by the
National Center for Biotechnology Information in the Department of Health and
Human Services. The majority of teachers surveyed reported excessive noise in
their classrooms (93.5 percent) and “auditory symptoms” (65 percent). A survey
of classrooms found that noise levels exceeding the generally safe level of 85
decibels were common across all levels of education.
Hundreds of teachers across the country could greatly benefit from the use of hearing aids, many of which are invisible and can be adjusted to the exact hearing situation the user is in. If you feel you have experienced hearing loss, visit our website today to schedule an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional. Take care of your ears and protect them from the noisy word we live and work in.