Can’t Hear Very Well at Work? You Might be Missing More Than You Think

Businessman worried about his hearing los at work

Imagine for a minute you’re a salesperson. Today, you’re on a very important call with a possible client. Your company is being considered for a job and several people from your company have gathered on a conference call. All of the various voices get a little muddled and difficult to comprehend. But you’re getting most 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’re quite good at that.

There comes a point in the conversation where things become particularly hard to hear. This is the point where the potential client asks “so exactly how will your company help us solve this?””

You freeze. You didn’t hear the last few minutes and aren’t certain what problem they’re attempting to resolve. Your boss is counting on you to close this deal. So now what?

Should you acknowledge you didn’t hear them and ask them to repeat what they said? They’ll think you were distracted. What about resorting to some slippery sales jargon? No, that will be too obvious.

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

So in general, how is your work being affected by your hearing loss? The following can help us find out.

Lower wages

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

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

Hey, that’s not fair!

We could dig deep to try to find out what the cause is, but as the example above shows, hearing loss can affect your general performance. Sadly, he didn’t close the deal. Everything was going very well until the client thought he wasn’t listening to them. They decided to go with a company that listens better.

His commission on this contract would have been more than $1000.

The situation was misinterpreted. But how do you think this affected his career? How might things have been different if he were wearing his hearing aids?

Workplace Injuries

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

And individuals with only mild hearing loss were at the highest risk, unexpectedly! Perhaps they don’t realize that hearing loss of any kind impairs a person at work.

How to have a prosperous career with hearing loss

Your employer has a lot to gain from you:

  • Experience
  • Personality
  • Confidence
  • Skills
  • Empathy

Hearing loss shouldn’t overshadow these. But it is often a factor. You might not even recognize how huge an impact on your job it’s having. Here are a few ways to reduce that impact:

  • So that you have it in writing, it’s a good idea to compose a respectful accommodations letter for your boss.
  • Never disregard wearing your hearing aids at work and all of the rest of the time. When you do this, lots of of the accommodations aren’t necessary.
  • If a task 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 a part of the building that can be really noisy. In order to make up for it, offer to undertake a different job. This way, it will never seem like you’re not doing your part.
  • Asking for a written overview/agenda before a meeting. It will be easier to follow the conversation.
  • 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. In order to use this technology you will need a hearing aid that’s compatible.
  • Face people when you’re talking to them. Try to keep phone conversations to a minimum.
  • Know that you aren’t required to reveal that you have hearing loss during an interview. And the interviewer can’t ask. However, you might need to consider 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 situation.
  • Be certain your work area is brightly lit. Even if you’re not a lip reader, looking directly at them can help you discern what’s being said.

Hearing loss at work

Even if you have slight hearing loss, it can still impact your performance at work. But getting it treated will often minimize any obstacles you face with neglected hearing loss. Give us a call today – we can help!

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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