You Might be Missing a Lot if You’re Having Trouble Hearing at Work

Businessman worried about his hearing los at work

Just picture for a minute you’re a salesperson. Today, you’re on a very important call with a potential client. Your company is being looked at for a job and a number of individuals from your company have gathered on a conference call. All of the various voices get a little muddled and difficult to understand. But you’re getting most of it.

And it sounds distorted and even less clear when you keep cranking the volume up. So you just do your best at filling in the blanks. You’re very good at that.

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

You freeze. You didn’t catch the last few minutes and aren’t sure what issue they’re trying to resolve. Your boss is counting on you to seal 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. Do you begin using a lot of sales jargon? No, they’ll see right through that.

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

But how is neglected hearing loss actually affecting your work in general? Let’s find out.

Unequal pay

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

They found that individuals who have untreated hearing loss earn about $12,000 less per year than those who can hear.

Hey, that’s not fair!

Hearing loss impacts your general performance so it’s not hard to understand the above example. Sadly, he couldn’t close the deal. When they got the impression that the salesperson wasn’t paying attention to them, they went with someone else. They didn’t want to deal with a firm that doesn’t listen.

He lost out on a $1000 commission.

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

Workplace Injuries

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

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

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

Your employer has a great deal to gain from you:

  • Personality
  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Empathy
  • Confidence

Hearing loss shouldn’t dominate these. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t be a factor. It may be impacting your job more than you recognize. Take measures to minimize the impact like:

  • Keep a brightly lit work area. Even if you’re not a lip reader, looking directly at them can help you make out what’s being said.
  • Asking for a written outline/agenda before a meeting. It will be easier to keep up with the discussion.
  • Look directly at people when you’re conversing with them. Try not to have phone conversations as much as you can.
  • Never disregard using your hearing aids while you’re at work and all of the rest of the time. When you do, lots of of the accommodations won’t be necessary.
  • Understand that when you’re interviewing, you aren’t required to divulge that you have hearing loss. And the interviewer can’t ask. However, you may need to consider if your neglected hearing loss will affect your ability to interview well. In that case, you might decide to divulge this before the interview.
  • So that you have it in writing, it’s not a bad plan to write a sincere accommodations letter for your boss.
  • Speak up when a job surpasses your abilities. For example, your boss might want you to cover for somebody who works in a really loud area. In order to make up for it, offer to take on a different job. That way, it never seems like you aren’t doing your part.
  • Request that you get a hearing aid compatible (HAC) phone. The sound goes directly into your ear and not through background noise. In order to use this technology you will need a hearing aid that’s appropriate.

Working with hearing loss

Hearing loss can impact your work, even if it’s slight. But getting it treated will often get rid of any barriers you face with untreated hearing impairment. We can help so give us a call!

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.