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

Businessman worried about his hearing los at work

Imagine for a minute you’re a salesperson. Now picture that you have a call scheduled today with a very important client. Your company is being considered for a job and a number of people from your business have gathered on a conference call. All of the various voices get a little muddled and difficult to understand. But you’re fairly sure you got the gist of it.

Cranking up the speaker just makes it sound more distorted. So you just do your best at filling in the blanks. You’ve become fairly 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 problem is because you didn’t hear the last portion of the discussion. This is your contract and your boss is depending on you. What do you do?

Do you request they repeat themselves? They might think you weren’t paying attention. What about resorting to some slippery sales jargon? No, they’ll see right through that.

Every single day, individuals everywhere are dealing with scenarios like this at work. They try to read between the lines and get by.

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

Unequal pay

The Better Hearing Institute questioned 80,000 individuals utilizing the same method the Census Bureau uses to obtain a representative sampling.

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

Hey, that’s not fair!

Hearing loss effects your overall performance so it isn’t hard to understand the above example. Sadly, he couldn’t close the deal. Everything was going great until the client thought he wasn’t paying attention to them. They didn’t want to deal with a company that doesn’t listen.

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

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

Workplace Injuries

A study revealed in the Journal of The American Medical Association found that individuals with untreated hearing loss are nearly 30% more likely to have a serious work accident. And, your risk of ending up in the emergency room after a serious fall goes up by 300% according to other studies.

And people with only slight hearing loss were at the highest 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
  • Confidence
  • Empathy
  • Skills

These positive qualities shouldn’t be overshadowed by hearing loss. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a factor. You may not even know how great an effect on your job it’s having. Here are a few ways to decrease that impact:

  • If a task is going to be beyond your capability you need to speak up. Your boss might, for example, ask you to go and do some work in a part of the building that can be very loud. Offer to do something else to make up for it. That way, it will never seem as if you’re not doing your part.
  • Never disregard wearing 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.
  • Asking for a written outline/agenda before attending a meeting. Discussions will be easier to keep up with.
  • Ask for a phone that is HAC (Hearing Aid Compatible). The sound doesn’t pass through background noise but rather goes straight into your ear. In order to use this technology you will require a hearing aid that’s compatible.
  • Understand that when you’re interviewing, you’re not required to divulge that you have hearing loss. And the interviewer can’t ask. But the other side is whether your hearing loss will have an effect on your ability to have a successful interview. In that case, you may decide to divulge this before the interview.
  • Keep a well lit work area. Even if you’re not a lip reader, being able to see them can help you discern what’s being said.
  • When you’re talking with people, make certain you look directly at them. Try not to talk on the phone as much as possible.
  • In order to have it in writing, it’s not a bad idea to write a sincere accommodations letter for your boss.

Working with hearing loss

Hearing loss can impact your work, even if it’s mild. But many of the obstacles that neglected hearing loss can pose will be resolved by having it treated. 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.


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