For just a minute, imagine that you’re working as a salesperson. Now picture that you have a call scheduled today with a very valuable client. Multiple representatives from their offices have come together to discuss whether to employ your company for the job. As the call goes on, voices rise and fall…and are sometimes hard to hear. But you’re getting most of it.
Turning the speaker up just makes it sound more distorted. So you simply do your best, interpreting what’s being said the best you can. You’re very good at that.
As you try to listen, the voices sound particularly muffled for about a minute. This is the point where the potential client asks “so precisely how will your company help us solve this?””
You panic. You have no idea what their company’s issue is because you didn’t hear the last part of the conversation. This is your deal and your boss is counting on you. What can you do?
Should you confess you didn’t hear them and ask them to reprise what they said? They’ll think you were distracted. What about relying on some slippery sales jargon? No, they’ll see right through that.
Individuals go through situations like this every day when they are at work. Oftentimes, they try to pretend they’re okay and wing it.
But how is untreated hearing loss actually impacting your work in general? The following can help us find out.
The Better Hearing Institute surveyed 80,000 individuals utilizing the same method the Census Bureau uses to get a representative sampling.
They discovered that individuals who have untreated hearing loss make about $12,000 less per year than people who can hear.
Hey, that isn’t fair!
We could dig deep to try to figure out what the cause is, but as the illustration above shows, hearing loss can impact your general performance. The deal couldn’t be closed, unfortunately. Everything was going very well until the client thought he wasn’t paying attention to them. They didn’t want to deal with a company that doesn’t listen.
His commission on this deal would have been over $1000.
The circumstances were misconstrued. But how do you think this affected his career? If he was wearing hearing aids, think about how different things could have been.
Injuries on at work
Individuals who have untreated hearing loss are nearly 30% more likely to sustain a significant on-the-job injury according to a study conducted by the American Medical Association. And, your danger of ending up in the emergency room after a significant fall goes up by 300% according to other research.
And it may come as a surprise that individuals with minor hearing loss had the highest chance among those who have hearing loss. Maybe they don’t recognize that hearing loss of any kind impairs a person at work.
Even if you have hearing loss, you can still have a successful career
You have so much to offer an employer:
These positive attributes shouldn’t be dominated by hearing loss. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t be a factor. It may be impacting your job more than you know. Here are some ways to lessen that impact:
- Be aware that you’re not required to divulge that you have hearing loss when you’re interviewing. And the interviewer may not ask. However, you might need to think about if your neglected hearing loss will affect your ability to have a successful interview. In that situation, you may choose to disclose this before the interview.
- So that you have it in writing, it’s not a bad idea to write a respectful accommodations letter for your boss.
- Requesting a written overview/agenda before attending a meeting. Conversations will be easier to follow.
- Keep a well lit work space. Seeing lips can help you follow along even if you’re not a lip reader.
- Speak up when a task is beyond your abilities. For instance, your boss might want 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. That way, it will never seem like you’re not doing your part.
- Request that you get a hearing aid compatible (HAC) phone. The sound doesn’t pass through background noise but rather goes directly into your ear. In order to utilize this technology you will need a hearing aid that’s compatible.
- Never neglect using your hearing aids while you’re working and all of the rest of the time. When you do this, lots of of the accommodations won’t be necessary.
- Look directly at people when you’re speaking with them. Try not to talk on the phone as much as possible.
Working with hearing loss
Even if you have mild hearing loss, it can still effect your performance at work. But many of the challenges that untreated hearing loss can present will be solved by getting it treated. Call us today – we can help!