For just a moment, imagine that you’re working as a salesperson. Now imagine that you have a call scheduled today with a really important client. Your company is being looked at for a job and several individuals from your company have come together on a conference call. As the call goes on, voices rise and fall…and are sometimes difficult to hear. But you’re pretty sure you got the gist of it.
And it sounds distorted and even less clear when you keep turning up the volume. So you simply make do, reading between the lines. You’ve become pretty good at that.
As you try to listen, the voices sound specifically 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 clue what their company’s issue is because you didn’t catch the last part of the discussion. This is your deal and your boss is depending on you. What do you do?
Should you admit you didn’t hear them and ask them to reprise what they said? They might think you weren’t paying attention. Do you start using a lot of sales jargon? No, they’ll see right through that.
Individuals go through situations like this every day when they are at work. They try to read between the lines and cope.
So in general, how is your work being affected by your hearing loss? The following will help us find out.
The Better Hearing Institute surveyed 80,000 individuals using the same method the Census Bureau uses to get a representative sampling.
Individuals who have disregarded hearing loss earn, on average, $12,000 less per year.
That doesn’t seem fair!
Hearing loss impacts your overall performance so it’s not hard to understand the above example. The deal couldn’t be closed, unfortunately. When they got the impression that the salesperson wasn’t listening to them, they pulled out. They didn’t want to work with a company that doesn’t listen.
His commission on this contract would have been over $1000.
The circumstances were misconstrued. But that doesn’t change the effect on his career. How might things have been different if he were using his hearing aids?
Injuries on at work
A study revealed in the Journal of The American Medical Association discovered that individuals with untreated hearing loss are almost 30% more likely to have a serious work accident. Studies have also revealed a 300% increased chance of having a serious fall and ending up in the emergency room.
And it may come as a shock that individuals with mild hearing loss had the highest risk among those who have hearing loss. Maybe, their hearing loss is mild enough that they’re not even aware of it.
Even if you have hearing loss, you can still have a successful career
You have so much to offer an employer:
Hearing loss shouldn’t dominate these. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a factor. It may be having an effect on your job more than you know. Here are some ways to decrease that impact:
- Know that you aren’t required to divulge that you have hearing loss during an interview. And it’s not okay for the interviewer to ask. However, you might need to think about if your untreated hearing loss will affect your ability to interview well. You will probably need to inform the interviewer of your condition if that’s the case.
- Keep a well lit work area. Being able to see lips can help you follow along even if you’re not a lip reader.
- Use your hearing aids while you’re at work every day, all the time. When you do this, many of the accommodations aren’t necessary.
- Write a respectful accommodations letter to your boss. By doing this, you have it in writing.
- Face people when you’re talking to them. Try not to talk on the phone as much as you can.
- If a task is going to surpass your capability you need to speak up. Your boss may, for instance, ask you to go and do some work in a part of the building that can be very loud. Offer to do a different job to make up for it. By doing that, your boss won’t think you’re coping out.
- 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 utilize this technology you will need a hearing aid that’s appropriate.
- Before a meeting, find out if you can get a written agenda and outline. Discussions will be easier to follow.
Hearing loss at work
Hearing loss can effect your work, even if it’s minor. But lots of the obstacles that neglected hearing loss can present will be resolved by getting it treated. Call us today – we can help!