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

Businessman worried about his hearing los at work

Just picture for a minute you’re a salesperson. Today, you’re having a very important call with a potential client. Multiple agents from their offices have come together to talk about whether to hire your company for the job. All of the various voices get a little jumbled and hard to comprehend. But you’re getting most of it.

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

As you listen, the voices sound particularly muffled for around a minute. Then all of a sudden you hear, “so what can your company do to help us with this”?”

You panic. You have no clue what their company’s problem is because you didn’t hear the last part of the conversation. This is your contract and your boss is depending on you. So now what?

Do you request they repeat themselves? They might think you weren’t paying attention. What about resorting to some slippery sales jargon? No, that will be too obvious.

Every single day, people everywhere are dealing with scenarios like this while working. Oftentimes, they try to pretend they’re okay and wing it.

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

Lower wages

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

People who have disregarded hearing loss earn, on average, $12,000 less per year.

That doesn’t seem fair!

We could dig deep to try to find out what the cause is, but as the illustration above shows, hearing loss can affect your general performance. Unfortunately, he didn’t close the deal. When they got the impression that the salesperson wasn’t paying attention to them, they pulled out. They didn’t want to deal with a company that doesn’t listen.

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

It was only a misunderstanding. But that doesn’t change the impact on 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 people with neglected hearing loss are nearly 30% more likely to have a significant work accident. Studies have also revealed a 300% increased chance of having a significant fall and winding up in the emergency room.

And people with only mild hearing loss were at the highest risk, unexpectedly! Maybe, their hearing loss is mild enough that they don’t even know about it.

How to have a successful career with hearing loss

Your employer has a lot to gain from you:

  • Skills
  • Empathy
  • Confidence
  • Experience
  • Personality

These positive qualities shouldn’t be overshadowed by hearing loss. But it is frequently a factor. It could be having an effect on your job more than you realize. Here are some ways to reduce that impact:

  • Request that you get a hearing aid compatible (HAC) phone. The sound goes straight into your ear and not through background noise. You will need hearing aids that will work with this technology to use one.
  • Understand that when you’re interviewing, you aren’t required to divulge that you have hearing loss. And it’s not okay for the interviewer to ask. But the other consideration is whether your hearing loss will have an impact on your ability to have a good interview. You will probably need to inform the interviewer of your condition if that’s the situation.
  • Requesting a written overview/agenda before a meeting. Discussions will be easier to follow.
  • If a job is going to be beyond your capability you need to speak up. For example, your boss might want you to cover for someone who works in a noisy part of the building. So that you can make up for it, offer to take on a different job. If you do that, your boss won’t think you’re coping out.
  • Look directly at people when you’re speaking with them. Try not to talk on the phone as much as possible.
  • In order to have it in writing, it’s a good plan to draft up a sincere accommodations letter for your boss.
  • Be certain your work area is brightly lit. Even if you’re not a lip reader, being able to see them can help you understand what’s being said.
  • Use your hearing aids while your working every day, at all times. If you’re wearing your hearing aids you might not even require many of the accommodations.

Working with hearing loss

Even if you have minor hearing loss, it can still effect your performance at work. But getting it treated will frequently minimize any barriers you face with untreated hearing impairment. Call us 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.