For just a moment, imagine that you have a job as a salesperson. Now picture that you have a call scheduled today with a really valuable client. Your company is being considered for a job and several people from your company have gathered on a conference call. As the call proceeds, voices go up and down…and are sometimes hard to hear. But you’re hearing most of it.
Turning up the speaker just makes it sound more distorted. So you simply do your best, interpreting what’s being said the best you can. You’ve become fairly 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 firm help us solve 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 deal and your boss is depending on you. So now what?
Do you ask them to repeat themselves? They may think you weren’t paying attention. What about resorting to some slippery sales jargon? No, that will be too obvious.
Every single day, people everywhere go through situations like this while working. They try to read between the lines and cope.
But how is untreated hearing loss actually impacting your work as a whole? Let’s see.
The Better Hearing Institute questioned 80,000 individuals using the same technique the Census Bureau uses to obtain a representative sampling.
Individuals who have neglected hearing loss earn, on average, $12,000 less per year.
That doesn’t seem fair!
Hearing loss impacts your general performance so it’s not difficult to understand the above example. The deal couldn’t be closed, regrettably. Everything was going very well until the client thought he wasn’t listening to them. They decided to go with a company that listens better.
His commission on this deal would have been more than $1000.
The situation was misinterpreted. But that doesn’t change the effect on his career. How may things have been different if he were wearing his hearing aids?
On the Job Injuries
A study reported in the Journal of The American Medical Association found that individuals with neglected hearing loss are almost 30% more likely to have a significant work accident. Studies also show a 300% increased chance of having a serious fall and ending up in the emergency room.
And people with only mild hearing loss were at the highest risk, surprisingly! Perhaps they don’t grasp that hearing loss of any kind impairs a person at work.
How to have a prosperous career with hearing loss
Your employer has a great deal to gain from you:
These positive qualities shouldn’t be overshadowed by hearing loss. But it is often a factor. You might not even know how huge an impact on your job it’s having. Take actions to minimize the impact like:
- If a job is going to surpass your capability you need to speak up. For example, your boss might ask you to cover for someone who works in a really loud area. Offer to do something else to make up for it. That way, it never seems like you’re not doing your part.
- Request a phone that is HAC (Hearing Aid Compatible). The sound goes directly into your ear instead of through background noise. You will need hearing aids that will work with this technology to use one.
- Be aware that you aren’t required to reveal that you have hearing loss during an interview. And it’s not okay for the interviewer to ask. Conversely, you might need to consider if your neglected hearing loss will impact your ability to have a successful interview. In that situation, you might decide to reveal this before the interview.
- Face people when you’re conversing with them. Try to keep phone conversations to a minimum.
- In order to have it in writing, it’s not a bad idea to draft up a respectful accommodations letter for your boss.
- Before a meeting, ask if you can get a written agenda and overview. It will be easier to follow the conversation.
- Never neglect wearing your hearing aids at work and all of the rest of the time. If you have your hearing aids in you may not even require many of the accommodations.
- Make sure your work space is well lit. Even if you don’t read lips, looking directly at them can help you understand what’s being said.
Working with hearing loss
Hearing loss can impact your work, even if it’s mild. But lots of the obstacles that untreated hearing loss can present will be solved by having it treated. Contact us right away – we can help!