Businessman worried about his hearing los at work

Imagine for a minute you’re a salesperson. Now imagine that you have a call scheduled today with a very valuable client. Your company is being looked at for a job and a number of people from your company have come together on a conference call. As the call continues, voices rise and fall…and are at times hard to hear. But you’re quite sure you got the gist of it.

And it sounds distorted and even less clear when you continue turning up the volume. So you just do your best at filling in the blanks. You’ve become fairly good at that.

As you try to listen, the voices sound particularly muffled for about a minute. This is the point where the potential client says “so precisely how will your firm help us solve this?””

You freeze. You have no clue what their company’s issue is because you didn’t hear the last portion of the discussion. This is your deal and your boss is counting on you. So now what?

Do you request they repeat themselves? They’ll think you were distracted. What about relying on some slick sales jargon? No, that will be too conspicuous.

People go through situations like this every day when they are at work. Sometimes, they try to pretend they’re fine and wing it.

But how is untreated hearing loss actually affecting your work as a whole? Let’s see.

Lower wages

A representative sampling of 80,000 people was obtained by The Better Hearing Institute using the same method that the Census Bureau uses.

They discovered that people who have neglected hearing loss earn about $12,000 less per year than people who can hear.

Hey, that’s not fair!

We could dig deep to attempt to figure out what the cause is, but as the illustration above shows, hearing loss can impact your overall performance. Sadly, he didn’t close the deal. Everything was going very well until the client thought he wasn’t paying attention to them. They didn’t want to work with a company that doesn’t listen.

His commission on this contract would have been over $1000.

It was just a misunderstanding. But how do you think this affected his career? If he was using hearing aids, think about how different things could have been.

On the Job Injuries

People who have untreated hearing loss are almost 30% more likely to sustain a serious workplace injury according to a study conducted by the American Medical Association. Studies also show a 300% increased chance of having a serious fall and ending up in the emergency room.

And it may come as a surprise that individuals with mild hearing loss had the highest risk among those who have hearing loss. Perhaps, their hearing loss is minor enough that they’re not even aware of it.

Even if you have hearing loss, you can still be successful at work

You have so much to offer an employer:

  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Empathy
  • Personality
  • Confidence

Hearing loss shouldn’t dominate these. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a factor. You might not even realize how great an impact on your job it’s having. Take steps to decrease the impact like:

  • Understand that when you’re interviewing, you aren’t required to reveal that you have hearing loss. And the interviewer can’t ask. But the other side is whether your hearing loss will have an impact on your ability to have a good interview. You will most likely need to inform the interviewer of your condition if that’s the situation.
  • Make sure your work area is well lit. Being able to see lips can help you follow along even if you’re not a lip reader.
  • Request that you get a hearing aid compatible (HAC) phone. The sound doesn’t pass through background noise but instead goes directly into your ear. You will need hearing aids that are compatible with this technology to use one.
  • Never neglect using your hearing aids at work and all of the rest of the time. When you do, lots of of the accommodations aren’t necessary.
  • Look directly at people when you’re conversing with them. Try not to talk on the phone as much as you can.
  • Requesting a written outline/agenda before attending a meeting. Discussions will be easier to keep up with.
  • In order to have it in writing, it’s not a bad idea to compose a respectful accommodations letter for your boss.
  • Speak up when a job is beyond your abilities. Your boss may, for instance, ask you to go and do some work in a part of the building that can be really noisy. Offer to do something else to make up for it. In this way, it will never seem as if you aren’t doing your part.

Working with hearing loss

Hearing loss can impact your work, even if it’s mild. But many of the challenges that untreated hearing loss can present will be solved by having it treated. We can help so call us!

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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