Studies Document Direct Correlation between Hearing Loss and Economic Status: Hearing Loss Affects Baby Boomers at Work and Financially

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Two studies released over the last year reveal hearing loss is impacting Baby Boomers where it hurts most: their pocketbooks.

Employers must realize the seriousness of hearing loss in our society and take positive steps in finding solutions to help retain this talent.

    A study conducted by Clarity(R) (http://www.clarityproducts.com) and The EAR Foundation last year confirmed not only the prevalence of hearing loss among Baby Boomers, but also its negative impact on performance and productivity on the job, loss of income and overall quality of life. A similar study released May 16, 2007 by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) further reinforced the Clarity/EAR Foundation's findings.

Hearing loss among Baby Boomers has increased significantly to approximately 50 percent of those aged 45-64. It compromises job performance, resulting in lower salaries, which consequently leads to less retirement income and investment savings.

The Clarity/ EAR Foundation study found that almost one-fourth (23%) of individuals who reported a hearing loss said that their hearing loss has affected their success in the workplace. The areas most usually affected are hearing and understanding phone calls (64%) and conversations with co-workers (61%). Additionally, 27% report that their hearing loss has negatively affected their earning potential.

"The hearing loss of workers impairs their ability to fully engage in meetings and conversations, giving co-workers and bosses the impression they are less equipped to handle their jobs," explained Carsten Trads, President of Clarity(R), a leading supplier of amplified telephones and other assistive listening devices. "However, access to technology solutions such as amplified telephones and other assistive listening devices can dramatically improve these employees' productivity and ultimately their success at the workplace."

To help improve access to hearing loss solutions, Clarity is making a selection of assistive listening devices available at a dramatically reduced price, for a limited time, at: http://www.amplifymylife.com. "We think everyone should have the ability to earn a living, regardless of any hearing loss they may experience," Trads explained.

The recently released BHI study, "Impact of Hearing Loss on Household Income," validated and shed new light on the earlier findings of the Clarity/The EAR Foundation study. The study found that untreated hearing loss negatively affects household income, on average, by nearly $23,000 per year depending on the degree of hearing loss.

Although people with hearing loss make less money, the use of hearing aids restores lost income by 50 percent. While people with treated and untreated hearing loss both earn less than people with normal hearing, for people with more severe hearing loss, the income decline is cut in half for hearing aid owners. For example, the difference in income between people with mild versus profound hearing loss is $20,300 per year for those with untreated hearing loss and $10,200 for those with hearing aids.

"Aging Boomers are vital to the American work force," said Suzanne Wyatt executive director of The EAR Foundation, a national nonprofit devoted to hearing loss education and prevention. "Employers must realize the seriousness of hearing loss in our society and take positive steps in finding solutions to help retain this talent."

The Clarity/The EAR Foundation study was conducted by an independent research company, Prince Market Research, a member of the Council of American Survey Research Organizations. The research methodology was designed to ensure that the results are accurate within a margin of error of plus or minus 5% at a 95% confidence level. To access the full report, visit: http://www.clarityproducts.com/boomer.

The "Hearing Loss on Household Income" study was based on data from 53,000 members of the National Family Opinion (NFO) panel. The survey included nearly 2,000 adults with untreated hearing loss, 2,000 with hearing aids and nearly 40,000 with normal hearing. The research was conducted by the not-for-profit Better Hearing Institute. For more information, visit: http://www.betterhearing.org.

About Clarity

Clarity(R), a Division of Plantronics Inc. (NYSE:PLT), is a leading supplier of amplified telephones, notification systems, assistive listening devices and other communications devices for the hearing loss and deaf markets. A leader in sound amplification, Clarity's patented technologies, Clarity(R) Power(TM) and Digital Clarity Power(TM), provide customized solutions for customers who otherwise could not communicate easily and effectively with the outside world. As more people begin to address their hearing needs, Clarity will continue to provide effective technologies that are simple and easy to use. The company began in 1969 as a telecommunications manufacturer, and was acquired in 1986 by Plantronics, Inc., a leading provider of headsets to business and individual consumers worldwide. For more information about Clarity and its products, please call 1-800-426-3738 or visit http://www.clarityproducts.com.

About Plantronics(R)

In 1969, a Plantronics headset carried the historic first words from the moon: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Since then, Plantronics has become the headset of choice for mission-critical applications such as air traffic control, 911 dispatch, and the New York Stock Exchange. Today, this history of Sound Innovation(TM) is the basis for every product we build for the office, contact center, personal mobile, entertainment and residential markets. The Plantronics family of brands includes Plantronics, Altec Lansing, Clarity, and Volume Logic. For more information, go to http://www.plantronics.com or call (800) 544-4660.

Altec Lansing, Clarity, Clarity Power, Digital Clarity Power, the logo design, Plantronics, Sound Innovation, and Volume Logic are trademarks or registered trademarks of Plantronics, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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Amber N. Sims
Clarity
615-327-7999
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