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

Businessman worried about his hearing los at work

For just a minute, imagine that you have a job as a salesperson. Now imagine that you have a call scheduled today with a really valuable client. Multiple representatives from their offices have gathered to talk about whether to employ your business for the job. As the call goes on, voices rise and fall…and are at times difficult to hear. But you’re fairly sure you got the gist of it.

Cranking up the speaker just makes it sound more distorted. So you simply make do, interpreting what’s being said the best you can. 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 company help us solve this?””

You freeze. You didn’t hear the last few minutes and aren’t certain what issue they’re attempting to solve. Your boss is depending on you to seal this deal. What can you do?

Do you ask them to repeat themselves? They’ll think you were distracted. What about resorting to some slick sales jargon? No, they’ll see right through that.

People go through scenarios like this every day when they are at work. They try to read between the lines and get by.

But how is neglected hearing loss really affecting your work as a whole? The following can help us 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.

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

Hey, that’s not fair!

We could dig deep to attempt to figure out what the cause is, but as the example above demonstrates, hearing loss can impact your overall performance. The deal couldn’t be closed, unfortunately. When they thought that the salesperson wasn’t paying attention to them, they went with someone else. They decided to work with a company that listens better.

He missed out on a commission of $1000.

The situation was misinterpreted. But that doesn’t change the effect on his career. How might things have been different if he were using his hearing aids?

Workplace Injuries

People who have neglected hearing loss are nearly 30% more likely to sustain a serious workplace injury according to a study conducted by the American Medical Association. And, your danger of ending up in the emergency room after a serious fall increases by 300% according to other research.

And it may come as a shock that people with minor hearing loss had the highest risk among those who have hearing loss. Perhaps they don’t recognize that hearing loss of any type impairs an individual at work.

How to have a successful career with hearing loss

Your employer has a great deal to gain from you:

  • Confidence
  • Empathy
  • Skills
  • Experience
  • Personality

These positive qualities shouldn’t be overshadowed by hearing loss. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a factor. It may be having an effect on your job more than you recognize. Take actions to minimize the impact like:

  • If a job is going to be beyond your capability you need to speak up. For instance, your boss might want you to cover for someone who works in a noisy area. Offer to do a different job to make up for it. If you do that, your boss won’t think you’re just trying to get out of doing work.
  • Never overlook using your hearing aids while you’re at work and all of the rest of the time. When you do this, lots of of the accommodations won’t be necessary.
  • Make sure your work area is brightly lit. Even if you’re not a lip reader, being able to see them can help you make out what’s being said.
  • Request a phone that is HAC (Hearing Aid Compatible). The sound doesn’t pass through background noise but rather goes directly into your ear. You will require hearing aids that will work with this technology to use one.
  • So that you have it in writing, it’s a good idea to compose a respectful accommodations letter for your boss.
  • When you’re speaking with people, make sure you face them. Try not to have phone conversations as much as possible.
  • Asking for a written overview/agenda before attending a meeting. It will be easier to follow the conversation.
  • Know that you’re not required to divulge that you have hearing loss during an interview. And it’s not okay for the interviewer to ask. However, you might need to consider if your untreated hearing loss will affect your ability to interview well. You will probably need to make the interviewer aware of your condition if that’s the case.

Working with hearing loss

Even if you have slight hearing loss, it can still impact your work performance. But many of the obstacles that untreated hearing loss can pose will be solved by getting it treated. Contact us right away – 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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