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. Now imagine that you have a call scheduled today with a really important client. Your company is being considered for a job and several individuals from your business have gathered on a conference call. As the call proceeds, voices go up and down…and are sometimes hard to hear. But you’re getting most of it.

And it sounds distorted and even less clear when you continue turning up the volume. So you just read between the lines the best you can. You’re quite good at that.

There comes a point in the discussion where things get particularly difficult to hear. This is the stage where the potential client says “so precisely how will your company help us solve this?””

You panic. You didn’t catch the last few minutes and aren’t certain what issue they’re trying to solve. This is your deal and your boss is depending on you. What can you do?

Should you acknowledge you didn’t hear them and ask them to repeat what they said? They may think you weren’t paying attention. Do you begin using a lot of sales jargon? No, that will be too conspicuous.

People go through situations like this every day when they are at work. They attempt to read between the lines and cope.

So in general, how is your work being affected by your hearing loss? Let’s see.

Unequal pay

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

People who have disregarded 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 example above shows, hearing loss can affect your overall performance. Sadly, he couldn’t close the deal. Everything was going excellently until the client thought he wasn’t listening to them. They decided to go with a company that listens better.

He missed out on a $1000 commission.

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

On the Job Injuries

A study reported 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 have also revealed a 300% increased risk of having a serious fall and winding up in the emergency room.

And people with only slight hearing loss were at the highest risk, unexpectedly! Maybe, 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:

  • Experience
  • Empathy
  • Skills
  • Confidence
  • Personality

These positive attributes shouldn’t be overshadowed by hearing loss. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a factor. You might not even recognize how big an impact on your job it’s having. Take measures to decrease the impact like:

  • Keep a well lit work space. Even if you’re not a lip reader, being able to see them can help you discern what’s being said.
  • Before a meeting, find out if you can get a written agenda and overview. It will be easier to keep up with the conversation.
  • Speak up when a task surpasses your abilities. Your boss might, for example, ask you to go and do some work in a part of the building that can be very loud. So that you can make up for it, offer to take on a different job. By doing that, your boss won’t think you’re coping out.
  • Write a sincere accommodations letter to your boss. This way, you have it in writing.
  • Understand that when you’re interviewing, you aren’t required to disclose that you have hearing loss. And it isn’t okay for the interviewer to ask. Conversely, you may need to consider if your neglected hearing loss will impact your ability to interview well. In that situation, you might choose to divulge this before the interview.
  • Request that you get a hearing aid compatible (HAC) phone. The sound doesn’t go through background noise but instead goes straight into your ear. In order to utilize this technology you will require a hearing aid that’s appropriate.
  • Look directly at people when you’re talking to them. Try to keep phone conversations to a minimum.
  • Never disregard using your hearing aids at work and all of the rest of the time. When you do this, lots of of the accommodations aren’t necessary.

Working with hearing loss

Even if you have slight hearing loss, it can still effect your work performance. But lots of the challenges that neglected hearing loss can pose will be resolved by having it treated. Give us a call 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.