Businessman worried about his hearing los at work

For just a minute, imagine that you’re working as a salesperson. Now picture that you have a call scheduled today with a really valuable client. Your company is being looked at for a job and numerous individuals from your business have come together on a conference call. All of the various voices get a bit muddled and difficult to understand. But you’re getting most of it.

And it sounds distorted and even less clear when you continue turning up the volume. So you simply make do, reading between the lines. You’re quite good at that.

There comes a point in the conversation where things get particularly hard to hear. This is the point where the potential client says “so precisely how will your firm help us solve this?””

You panic. You didn’t hear the last few minutes and aren’t certain what problem they’re trying to resolve. This is your contract and your boss is depending on you. What do you do?

Should you admit you didn’t hear them and ask them to repeat what they said? They’ll think you were distracted. Do you start using a lot of sales jargon? No, they’ll see right through that.

Every single day, individuals everywhere go through scenarios like this while working. Sometimes, they try to pretend they’re okay and wing it.

But how is neglected hearing loss actually impacting your work as a whole? Let’s find out.

Unequal pay

The Better Hearing Institute surveyed 80,000 people using the same approach the Census Bureau uses to obtain a representative sampling.

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

Hey, that isn’t fair!

We could dig deep to attempt to find out what the cause is, but as the illustration above demonstrates, hearing loss can affect your overall performance. The deal couldn’t be closed, sadly. Everything was going excellently until the client thought he wasn’t paying attention to them. They didn’t want to work with a company that doesn’t listen.

He lost out on a commission of $1000.

It was only a misunderstanding. But how do you think this affected his career? How may things have been different if he were using his hearing aids?

Injuries on the job

A study revealed in the Journal of The American Medical Association discovered that people with untreated hearing loss are nearly 30% more likely to have a serious work accident. Studies also show a 300% increased danger of having a significant fall and ending up in the emergency room.

And people with only minor hearing loss were at the greatest risk, unexpectedly! Perhaps they don’t recognize that hearing loss of any type impairs an individual at work.

Even if you have hearing loss, you can still have a successful career

Your employer has a great deal to gain from you:

  • Empathy
  • Confidence
  • Personality
  • Skills
  • Experience

These positive qualities shouldn’t be dominated by hearing loss. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a factor. It may be having an effect on your job more than you realize. Take steps to minimize the impact like:

  • Be aware that you’re not required to divulge that you have hearing loss when you’re interviewing. And the interviewer can’t ask. However, you may need to think about if your neglected hearing loss will affect your ability to have a successful interview. You will probably need to make the interviewer aware of your condition if that’s the case.
  • Requesting a written outline/agenda before attending a meeting. Discussions will be easier to follow.
  • So that you have it in writing, it’s not a bad plan to write a respectful accommodations letter for your boss.
  • Request a phone that is HAC (Hearing Aid Compatible). The sound goes directly into your ear and not through background noise. In order to use this technology you will require a hearing aid that’s appropriate.
  • Never neglect wearing your hearing aids at work and all of the rest of the time. When you do this, lots of of the accommodations won’t be necessary.
  • When you’re speaking with people, make certain you face them. Try not to have phone conversations as much as possible.
  • If a job is going to surpass your capability you need to speak up. Your boss may, for example, ask you to go and do some work in a part of the building that can be very noisy. So that you can make up for it, offer to undertake a different job. If you do that, your boss won’t think you’re just trying to get out of doing work.
  • Keep a well lit work area. Even if you’re not a lip reader, looking directly at them can help you discern what’s being said.

Working with hearing loss

Even if you have minor hearing loss, it can still effect your work performance. But having it treated will often eliminate any barriers you face with neglected hearing impairment. Give us a call today – we can help!

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