Labor force participation and hearing loss (Garcia Morales et al., 2022)
Purpose: The purpose of this article was to study the association between hearing loss (HL) and labor force participation in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
Method: This cross-sectional study used data from the 1999–2000, 2001–2002, 2003–2004, 2011–2012, and 2015–2016 cycles of the NHANES. The sample was restricted to adults aged 25–65 years with complete audiometric data. HL was defined based on the pure-tone average (PTA) of 0.5-, 1-, 2-, and 4-kHz thresholds in the better hearing ear as follows: no loss (PTA < 25 dB), mild HL (25 dB < PTA < 40 dB), and moderate-to-severe HL (PTA > 40 dB). The association between HL and labor force participation was estimated using weighted logistic regression adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, living arrangements, and health status.
Results: In a sample of 9,963 participants (50.6% women, 22.6% Black, 27% Hispanic), we found that compared with adults without HL, individuals with moderate-to-severe HL had greater odds of being outside of the labor force (odds ratio = 2.35; 95% confidence interval: 1.42–3.88). However, there were no differences by HL status in being employed or having a full- versus part-time job.
Conclusions: Moderate-to-severe HL, but not mild HL, was associated with higher odds of not participating in the labor force. However, there were no differences by HL status in being employed or having a full- versus part-time job. Further research is needed to better characterize how HL may affect labor force participation.
Supplemental Material S1. Weighted logistic regression model for the association between hearing loss and the odds of different labor outcomes, including self-reported hearing perception as a covariate.
Supplemental Material S2. Weighted logistic regression model for the association between better-ear PTA and the odds of different labor outcomes, including self-reported hearing perception as a covariate.
Garcia Morales, E. E., Lin, H., Suen, J. J., Varadaraj, V., Lin, F. R., & Reed, N. S. (2022). Labor force participation and hearing loss among adults in the United States: Evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. American Journal of Audiology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2022_AJA-21-00266