Can’t Hear Very Well at Work? 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 picture that you have a call scheduled today with a really valuable client. Multiple agents from their offices have gathered to discuss whether to employ your company for the job. As the call proceeds, voices go up and down…and are at times hard to hear. But you’re getting most of it.

Turning up the speaker just makes it sound more distorted. So you just read between the lines the best you can. You’re quite good at that.

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

You freeze. You didn’t catch the last few minutes and aren’t certain what issue they’re attempting to resolve. This is your contract and your boss is depending on you. What can you do?

Do you ask them to repeat themselves? They’ll think you were distracted. What about resorting to some slippery sales jargon? No, that will be too obvious.

Every single day, people everywhere go through scenarios like this while working. They attempt to read between the lines and get by.

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

Unequal pay

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

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

That doesn’t seem fair!

We could dig deep to try to figure out what the cause is, but as the example above shows, hearing loss can affect your overall performance. Sadly, he couldn’t close the deal. Everything was going great until the client thought he wasn’t paying attention to them. They decided to go with a company that listens better.

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

The circumstances were misconstrued. But how do you think this affected his career? How may things have been different if he were wearing his hearing aids?

Workplace Injuries

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

And individuals with only slight hearing loss were at the highest risk, surprisingly! Perhaps they don’t recognize that hearing loss of any type impairs a person at work.

Even if you have hearing loss, you can still have a successful career

Your employer has a great deal to gain from you:

  • Personality
  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Confidence
  • Empathy

Hearing loss shouldn’t overshadow these. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a factor. You might not even realize how great an effect on your job it’s having. Here are a few ways to reduce that impact:

  • When you’re talking to people, make sure you look directly at them. Try to keep phone calls to a minimum.
  • Asking for a written overview/agenda before a meeting. It will be easier to follow the conversation.
  • Speak up when a task surpasses your abilities. Your boss might, for instance, ask you to go and do some work in a part of the building that can be really loud. Offer to do something else to make up for it. That way, it will never seem like you’re not doing your part.
  • Never neglect wearing your hearing aids while you’re working and all of the rest of the time. If you’re wearing your hearing aids you might not even require many of the accommodations.
  • Make sure your work area is brightly lit. Seeing lips can help you follow along even if you don’t read lips.
  • 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 are compatible with this technology to use one.
  • Be aware that you’re not required to reveal that you have hearing loss when you’re interviewing. And it isn’t okay for the interviewer to ask. Conversely, you may need to think about if your untreated hearing loss will affect your ability to have a successful interview. You will probably need to make the interviewer aware of your condition if that’s the case.
  • Write a respectful accommodations letter to your boss. By doing this, you have it in writing.

Working with hearing loss

Even if you have mild hearing loss, it can still impact your work performance. But many of the challenges that untreated hearing loss can pose will be solved by getting it treated. We can help so call us!

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.