You Could be Missing a Lot if You’re Having Difficulty Hearing at Work

Businessman worried about his hearing los at work

For just a second, picture that you have a job as a salesperson. Now imagine that you have a call scheduled today with a very important client. Numerous agents from their offices have gathered to discuss whether to hire your business for the job. As the call continues, voices go up and down…and are at times difficult to hear. But you’re getting most of it.

Turning up the speaker just makes it sound more distorted. So you simply do your best, interpreting what’s being said the best you can. You’ve become pretty good at that.

There comes a point in the discussion where things become particularly hard to hear. Then all of a sudden you hear, “so what can your company do to assist us with this”?”

You freeze. You have no idea what their company’s issue is because you didn’t hear the last part of the discussion. Your boss is depending on you to seal this deal. What can you do?

Do you ask them to repeat themselves? They might think you weren’t paying attention. Do you start using a lot of sales jargon? No, they’ll see right through that.

Every single day, individuals everywhere go through situations like this at work. They try to read between the lines and cope.

But how is untreated hearing loss really affecting your work as a whole? Let’s find out.

Unequal pay

The Better Hearing Institute questioned 80,000 people using the same technique the Census Bureau uses to get a representative sampling.

They discovered that people who have neglected hearing loss make around $12,000 less per year than those who are able to hear.

That doesn’t seem fair!

Hearing loss impacts your general performance so it’s not difficult to understand the above example. The deal couldn’t be closed, unfortunately. Everything was going great until the client thought he wasn’t listening to them. They didn’t want to work with a firm that doesn’t listen.

He missed out on a $1000 commission.

It was only a misunderstanding. But that doesn’t change the effect on his career. If he was using hearing aids, think about how different things may have been.

Injuries on the job

Individuals who have untreated hearing loss are almost 30% more likely to incur a significant workplace injury according to a study carried out by the American Medical Association. Studies also show a 300% increased danger of having a serious fall and winding up in the emergency room.

And it might come as a shock that people with minor hearing loss had the highest risk among those who have hearing loss. Maybe they don’t realize that hearing loss of any type impairs a person at work.

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

You have a lot to offer an employer:

  • Skills
  • Empathy
  • Confidence
  • Experience
  • Personality

Hearing loss shouldn’t overshadow these. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t be a factor. It could be impacting your job more than you know. Here are some ways to reduce that impact:

  • Requesting a written outline/agenda before attending a meeting. It will be easier to follow the conversation.
  • Make sure your work area is well lit. Being able to see lips can help you follow along even if you don’t read lips.
  • Know that you’re not required to divulge that you have hearing loss when you’re interviewing. And it isn’t okay for the interviewer to ask. But the other side is whether your hearing loss will have an effect on your ability to have a good interview. You will probably need to make the interviewer aware of your condition if that’s the case.
  • Look directly at people when you’re talking to them. Try to keep phone conversations to a minimum.
  • Never disregard wearing your hearing aids while you’re working and all of the rest of the time. If you’re wearing your hearing aids you might not even need many of the accommodations.
  • So that you have it in writing, it’s a good idea to compose a respectful accommodations letter for your boss.
  • Ask for a phone that is HAC (Hearing Aid Compatible). The sound doesn’t pass through background noise but instead goes straight into your ear. In order to use this technology you will need a hearing aid that’s appropriate.
  • If a job is going to be beyond your capability you need to speak up. Your boss might, for instance, ask you to go and do some work in an area of the building that can be really loud. Offer to do a different job to make up for it. In this way, it will never seem like you aren’t doing your part.

Working with hearing loss

Hearing loss can effect your work, even if it’s minor. But many of the obstacles that untreated hearing loss can create will be solved by having it treated. We can help so contact us!

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.