For just a second, picture that you have a job as a salesperson. Now imagine that you have a call scheduled today with a really important client. Multiple agents from their offices have gathered to discuss whether to employ your company for the job. All of the various voices get a bit jumbled and difficult to understand. But you’re quite certain you got the gist of it.
Turning up the speaker just makes it sound more distorted. So you just do your best at filling in the blanks. You’re really good at that.
There comes a point in the conversation where things become particularly hard 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 hear the last few minutes and aren’t sure what issue they’re attempting to solve. This is your contract and your boss is depending on you. What do you do?
Should you confess you didn’t hear them and ask them to repeat what they said? They may think you weren’t paying attention. Do you start 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 get by.
So in general, how is your work being impacted by your hearing loss? Let’s find out.
A representative sampling of 80,000 individuals was obtained by The Better Hearing Institute using the same approach that the Census Bureau uses.
People who have neglected 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 illustration above shows, hearing loss can affect your general performance. The deal couldn’t be closed, unfortunately. When they thought that the salesperson wasn’t paying attention to them, they pulled out. They didn’t want to deal with a company that doesn’t listen.
He missed out on a commission of $1000.
The circumstances were misconstrued. But how do you think this impacted his career? How might things have been different if he were using his hearing aids?
Injuries on at work
A study reported in the Journal of The American Medical Association found that individuals with untreated hearing loss are almost 30% more likely to suffer a significant work accident. Studies also show a 300% increased risk of having a serious fall and ending up in the emergency room.
And it may come as a surprise that people with minor hearing loss had the highest chance among those who have hearing loss. Perhaps, their hearing loss is minor enough that they’re not even aware of it.
Even if you have hearing loss, you can still have a successful career
Your employer has a lot to gain from you:
These positive qualities shouldn’t be overshadowed by hearing loss. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t be a factor. You might not even recognize how huge an impact on your job it’s having. Here are a few ways to reduce that impact:
- Understand that during a job interview, you’re not required to divulge that you have hearing loss. And the interviewer can’t ask. However, you might need to consider if your untreated hearing loss will impact your ability to interview well. You will most likely need to inform the interviewer of your condition if that’s the case.
- When you’re speaking with people, make certain you face them. Try not to have phone conversations as much as possible.
- Keep a brightly lit work area. Seeing lips can help you follow even if you don’t read lips.
- If a job is going to be beyond your capability you need to speak up. Your boss might, for example, ask you to go and do some work in a part of the building that can be really noisy. Offer to do something else to make up for it. In this way, it never seems like you aren’t doing your part.
- So that you have it in writing, it’s not a bad plan to compose a respectful accommodations letter for your boss.
- Before attending a meeting, find out if you can get a written agenda and overview. Conversations will be easier to follow.
- 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.
- Request that you get a hearing aid compatible (HAC) phone. The sound goes directly into your ear instead of through background noise. In order to use this technology you will require a hearing aid that’s appropriate.
Hearing loss at work
Hearing loss can impact your work, even if it’s minor. But having it treated will often eliminate any barriers you face with untreated hearing loss. Contact us today – we can help!