Monthly Archives: January 2015

Do you still think people in your workplace or classroom aren’t struggling to hear???

Hearing Loss Pie Chart

Alternative Communication Services (ACS) LLC has been providing speech-to-text and platform sign language interpreting services to businesses, conferences, and schools since 2007.  We have leveled the playing field for thousands of people with hearing loss.

  1. About 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.1
  2. More than 90 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents.2
  3. About 48 million Americans have a meaningful hearing loss in at least one ear.  One in eight people in the United States (13 percent, or 30 million) aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations. 3
  4. Men are more likely than women to report having hearing loss.4
  5. About 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss. The rate increases to 8.5 percent for adults aged 55 to 64. Nearly 25 percent of those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of those who are 75 and older have disabling hearing loss.5
  6. The NIDCD (National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders) estimates that approximately 15 percent of Americans (26 million people) between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to noise at work or during leisure activities.6
  7. Roughly 10 percent of the U.S. adult population, or about 25 million Americans, has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year.7
  8. Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30 percent) has ever used them. Even fewer adults aged 20 to 69 (approximately 16 percent) who could benefit from wearing hearing aids have ever used them.8
  9. As of December 2012, approximately 324,200 people worldwide have received cochlear implants. In the United States, roughly 58,000 adults and 38,000 children have received them.9
  10. Five out of 6 children experience ear infection (otitis media) by the time they are 3 years old.10The above statistics were compiled by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Identifying infants with hearing loss – United States, 1999-2007. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 59(8): 220-223.
    Vohr B. Overview: infants and children with hearing loss—part I. Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev. 2003;9:62–64.
  2. Mitchell RE, Karchmer MA. Chasing the mythical ten percent: Parental hearing status of deaf and hard of hearing students in the United States. Sign Language Studies. 2004;4(2):138-163.
  3. Lin FR, Niparko JK, Ferrucci L.  Hearing loss prevalence in the United States. [Letter] Arch Intern Med. 2011 Nov 14; 171(20): 1851-1852.
  4. Pleis JR, Ward BW, Lucas JW. Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2009. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(249). 2010.
  5. Based on calculations performed by NIDCD Epidemiology and Statistics Program staff:  (1) using data from the 1999-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES); (2) applying the definition of disabling hearing loss used by the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Expert Hearing Loss Team (hearing loss of 35 decibels or more in the better ear, the level at which adults could generally benefit from hearing aids).
  6. Hoffman HJ, Ko C-W, Themann CL, Dillon CF, Franks JR. Reducing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in adults to achieve U.S. Healthy People 2010 goals. Abstract. Am J Epidemiol. 2006 Jun (Suppl S);163(11):S122.
  7. Based on calculations performed by NIDCD Epidemiology and Statistics Program staff: (1) tinnitus prevalence was obtained from the 2008 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS); (2) the estimated number of American adults reporting tinnitus was calculated by multiplying the prevalence of tinnitus by the 2013 U.S. Census population estimate for the number of adults (18+ years of age).
  8. Based on calculations by NIDCD Epidemiology and Statistics Program staff using data collected by (1) the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) annually for number of persons who have ever used a hearing aid [numerator], and (2) periodic NHANES hearing exams for representative samples of the U.S. adult and older adult population [denominator]; these statisticis are also used for tracking Healthy People 2010 and 2020 objectives. See also Use of Hearing Aids by Adults with Hearing Loss (chart).
  9. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 2012.
  10. Teele DW, Klein JO, Rosner B. Epidemiology of otitis media during the first seven years of life in children in greater Boston: a prospective, cohort study. J Infect Dis. 1989 Jul;160(1):83-94.

For a demonstration of how we can help you create a more hearing-friendly workplace or classroom please email ACS business Development Manager Valerie Stafford-Mallis at

Hearing-Friendly Workplaces Pay Dividends



Unaddressed hearing loss affects not only an individual’s ability to understand and to be understood, but it can affect the individual’s on-the-job productivity. For instance, workers who are not able to communicate effectively in the workplace may experience more conflict with supervisors and co-workers, have difficulty following directions, be more accident-prone, underachieve, struggle with group assignments, and become isolated from their teammates.

The benefits of assisting workers with disabilities and of creating a disability-friendly workplace far outweigh the costs. For example, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), funded by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL), interviewed 807 employers between June 28, 2008, and July 31, 2014. Employers in the JAN study represented a range of industry sectors and sizes. The study results consistently showed that the benefits employers receive from offering workplace assistance far outweigh the low cost. Employers reported that providing assistance resulted in such benefits as retaining valuable employees, improving productivity and morale, reducing workers’ compensation and training costs, and improving company diversity. These benefits were obtained with little investment. The employers in the study reported that a high percentage (57%) of assistance costs absolutely nothing to make, while the rest typically costs only $500. What is the bottom line? Workplace assistance low cost and high impact.

SOURCE / CITATION: Job Accommodation Network (Original 2005, Updated 2007, Updated 2009, Updated 2010, Updated 2011, Updated 2012, Updated 2013, Updated 2014). Workplace accommodations: Low cost, high impact. Retrieved 5 December 2014,

Making a workplace hearing-friendly to all employees can deliver the following benefits:

  • Creates a work environment where creativity flourishes, enabling employees to create a competitive advantage
  • Streamlines processes that improve operational efficiency
  • Reduces the high cost of employee turnover, absenteeism, and under-performance
  • Increases workplace safety
  • Reduces management time spent on handling employee conflict
  • Maximizes employee productivity at work
  • Improves interactions with customers and supply chain partners
  • Minimizes destructive disruptions to the work flow

You might wonder what kinds of assistance might cost little or nothing? No-cost assistance might be as simple as following effective communication practices and good meeting etiquette: Distributing meeting agendas in advance, having only one person speaking at a time after being recognized, offering note-taking projected on a computer + LCD or whiteboard visible to the group as a whole, and providing summaries of key discussion points and action items distributed promptly after a meeting concludes.

Improving communication access in the workplace might involve the use of other low-cost / high-impact services and devices such as personal FM systems, hand-held microphones, real-time speech-to-text captions, sign language interpreters, signaling and alerting devices. Even conference calls and web-based meetings can now be made accessible through remote captioning. None of these communication access assists typically presents an undue burden to a business nor fundamentally alters the nature of its business.

For more information, contact us today by emailing  and let us help you make your workplace more hearing-friendly.