Just picture for a minute you’re a salesperson. Today, you’re having a very important call with a potential 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 bit muddled and difficult to understand. 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, interpreting what’s being said the best you can. You’re quite good at that.
As you listen, the voices sound particularly muffled for about a minute. This is the stage where the potential client says “so exactly 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 part of the discussion. Your boss is depending on you to close this deal. What do you do?
Do you request they repeat themselves? They may think you weren’t paying attention. What about relying on some slippery sales jargon? No, they’ll see right through that.
Every single day, individuals everywhere go through scenarios like this while working. They attempt to read between the lines and cope.
So in general, how is your work being affected by your hearing loss? Let’s find out.
The Better Hearing Institute surveyed 80,000 people using the same technique the Census Bureau uses to get a representative sampling.
They found that individuals who have neglected hearing loss earn about $12,000 less per year than people who can hear.
That doesn’t seem fair!
Hearing loss impacts your overall performance so it’s not hard to understand the above example. Unfortunately, he couldn’t close the deal. When they got the impression that the salesperson wasn’t listening to them, they pulled out. They decided to go with a company that listens better.
He missed out on a commission of $1000.
The situation was misconstrued. But that doesn’t change the impact on his career. If he was wearing hearing aids, imagine how different things could have been.
People who have neglected hearing loss are nearly 30% more likely to sustain a significant workplace injury according to a study carried out by the American Medical Association. And, your chance of ending up in the emergency room after a serious fall goes up by 300% according to other research.
And it might come as a surprise that people with mild hearing loss had the highest risk among those with hearing loss. Perhaps, their hearing loss is minor 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 lot to gain from you:
These positive attributes shouldn’t be overshadowed by hearing loss. 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. Take measures to lessen the impact like:
- Look directly at people when you’re talking to them. Try not to have phone conversations as much as possible.
- Before attending a meeting, find out if you can get a written agenda and outline. It will be easier to follow the conversation.
- Write a respectful accommodations letter to your boss. This way, you have it in writing.
- Never neglect using your hearing aids while you’re working and all of the rest of the time. When you do, lots of of the accommodations won’t be necessary.
- Request that you get a hearing aid compatible (HAC) phone. The sound doesn’t go through background noise but instead goes directly into your ear. You will require hearing aids that will work with this technology to use one.
- Make sure your work area is brightly lit. Being able to see lips can help you follow even if you’re not a lip reader.
- If a task is going to be beyond your capability you need to speak up. For instance, your boss may ask you to cover for somebody who works in a really loud part of the building. Offer to do a different job to make up for it. By doing that, your boss won’t think you’re just trying to get out of doing work.
- Recognize that during a job interview, you aren’t required to disclose that you have hearing loss. And the interviewer may not ask. But the other consideration is whether your hearing loss will have an impact on your ability to have a good interview. In that situation, you may decide to divulge this before the interview.
Hearing loss at work
Even if you have mild hearing loss, it can still impact your work performance. But many of the challenges that neglected hearing loss can pose will be resolved by having it treated. We can help so call us!