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

Businessman worried about his hearing los at work

Imagine for a minute you’re a salesperson. Today, you’re having a very important call with a potential client. Multiple representatives from their offices have come together to discuss whether to employ your company for the job. As the call continues, voices rise and fall…and are sometimes hard to hear. But you’re hearing most of it.

And it sounds distorted and even less clear when you continue cranking the volume up. 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 get particularly difficult to hear. Then suddenly you hear, “so what can your company do to assist us with this”?”

You freeze. You have no clue what their company’s issue is because you didn’t catch the last part of the discussion. Your boss is counting on you to seal this deal. What do you do?

Should you admit you didn’t hear them and ask them to repeat what they said? They might think you weren’t paying attention. What about resorting to some slick sales jargon? No, that will be too conspicuous.

Every single day, individuals everywhere go through situations like this at work. Sometimes, they try to pretend they’re okay and wing it.

But how is untreated hearing loss really impacting your work in general? Let’s find out.

Lower wages

A representative sampling of 80,000 people was collected by The Better Hearing Institute utilizing the same approach that the Census Bureau uses.

Individuals who have neglected 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 demonstrates, hearing loss can affect your general performance. Unfortunately, he didn’t close the deal. Everything was going very well until the client thought he wasn’t paying attention to them. They decided to work with a company that listens better.

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

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

Injuries on the job

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

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

How to have a successful career with hearing loss

Your employer has a great deal to gain from you:

  • Confidence
  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Personality
  • Empathy

These positive qualities shouldn’t be dominated by hearing loss. But it is frequently a factor. You may not even realize how big an impact on your job it’s having. Here are a few ways to decrease that impact:

  • Compose a sincere accommodations letter to your boss. This way, you have it in writing.
  • Speak up when a task is beyond your abilities. For example, your boss may ask you to cover for somebody who works in a really loud part of the building. So that you can make up for it, offer to undertake a different task. If you do that, your boss won’t think you’re just trying to get out of doing work.
  • Be certain your work space is brightly lit. Even if you’re not a lip reader, looking directly at them can help you make out what’s being said.
  • Face people when you’re speaking with them. Try to keep phone calls to a minimum.
  • Before a meeting, ask if you can get a written agenda and overview. It will be easier to keep up with the discussion.
  • Use your hearing aids while you’re at work every day, at all times. If you’re wearing your hearing aids you might not even need many of the accommodations.
  • Be aware that you aren’t required to divulge that you have hearing loss when you’re interviewing. And it isn’t 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 successful interview. You will most likely need to inform the interviewer of your condition if that’s the case.
  • Request that you get a hearing aid compatible (HAC) phone. The sound goes directly into your ear instead of through background noise. You will need hearing aids that will work with this technology to use one.

Working with hearing loss

Even if you have slight hearing loss, it can still effect your work performance. But lots of the obstacles that neglected hearing loss can present will be solved by having it treated. Contact 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.

Questions? Talk To Us.