Can’t Hear Very Well While You’re Working? You May be Missing More Than You Think

Businessman worried about his hearing los at work

Just picture for a minute you’re a salesperson. Now imagine that you have a call scheduled today with a really valuable client. Numerous representatives from their offices have gathered to talk about whether to hire your business for the job. All of the different voices get a little jumbled and hard to comprehend. But you’re getting most of it.

And it sounds distorted and even less clear when you continue cranking up the volume. So you simply make do, reading between the lines. You’ve become fairly good at that.

As you try to listen, the voices sound specifically muffled for about a minute. This is the stage where the potential client asks “so precisely how will your firm help us solve this?””

You freeze. You have no idea what their company’s issue is because you didn’t hear the last portion of the conversation. Your boss is counting on you to seal this deal. What can you do?

Should you confess you didn’t hear them and ask them to reprise what they said? They’ll think you were distracted. Do you start using a lot of sales jargon? No, they’ll see right through that.

Every single day, people everywhere are dealing with situations like this at work. They try to read between the lines and cope.

So in general, how is your work being impacted by your hearing loss? Let’s find out.

Unequal pay

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

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

That doesn’t seem fair!

Hearing loss effects your overall performance so it’s not difficult to understand the above example. The deal couldn’t be closed, unfortunately. When they thought that the salesperson wasn’t listening to them, they pulled out. They decided to go with a company that listens better.

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

It was just a misunderstanding. But that doesn’t change the effect on his career. How may things have been different if he were wearing his hearing aids?

On the Job Injuries

Individuals who have neglected hearing loss are almost 30% more likely to sustain a serious on-the-job injury according to a study conducted by the American Medical Association. And, your risk of ending up in the emergency room after a serious fall goes up by 300% according to other studies.

And it might come as a surprise that people with minor hearing loss had the highest chance among those with hearing loss. Perhaps, their hearing loss is minor enough that they don’t even know about it.

How to have a prosperous career with hearing loss

You have a lot to offer an employer:

  • Personality
  • Skills
  • Confidence
  • Experience
  • Empathy

These positive attributes shouldn’t be overshadowed by hearing loss. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t be a factor. It could be affecting your job more than you realize. Take actions to decrease the impact like:

  • Request that you get a hearing aid compatible (HAC) phone. The sound goes straight into your ear and not through background noise. In order to utilize this technology you will require a hearing aid that’s compatible.
  • Speak up when a job is beyond your abilities. For instance, your boss might ask you to cover for someone who works in a noisy part of the building. Offer to do something else to make up for it. That way, it will never seem as if you aren’t doing your part.
  • In order to have it in writing, it’s a good plan to write a respectful accommodations letter for your boss.
  • When you’re speaking with people, make sure you look directly at them. Try to keep phone calls to a minimum.
  • Before attending a meeting, find out if you can get a written agenda and outline. Discussions will be easier to follow.
  • Recognize that during a job interview, you aren’t required to disclose that you have hearing loss. And it isn’t okay for the interviewer to ask. However, you may need to think about if your neglected hearing loss will affect your ability to have a successful interview. In that situation, you might choose to disclose this before the interview.
  • Keep a brightly lit work space. Being able to see lips can help you follow even if you’re not a lip reader.
  • Use your hearing aids while you’re at work every day, all the time. When you do, lots of of the accommodations aren’t necessary.

Working with hearing loss

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