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WORKPLACE DISABILITY

ANCHOR LEAD: MANY OLDER WORKERS REPORT DIFFICULTY SEEING AND HEARING, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

As more people remain in the workforce as they age, chronic problems such as difficulty with vision and hearing become not just a nuisance, they can compromise safety.  Michelle Bellantoni,  a geriatrics expert at Johns Hopkins, reviews data from a recent study.

BELLANTONI:  Forty five thousand adults over the age of 65 years provided sensory impairment data.  The study highlighted the about one in ten of these folks who were still in the workforce.  Not a small number at about 3.9 million US workers, and what the study found was that four out of ten of these older workers reported either visual or hearing impairment.  A small percent reported both types of impairment, but the most common of which was about a third reporting hearing impairment that impaired their ability to function in the workplace.          :33

Bellantoni says employers need to be sensitive to assessments of sensory function in all their workers, not just older ones, with an eye toward accident prevention.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


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