For just a minute, picture that you have a job as a salesperson. Today, you’re having a very important call with a possible client. Numerous agents from their offices have come together to discuss whether to hire your company for the job. All of the different voices get a bit jumbled and hard to understand. But you’re pretty certain you got the gist of it.
And it sounds distorted and even less clear when you keep cranking up the volume. So you simply do your best, interpreting what’s being said the best you can. You’re really good at that.
As you try to listen, the voices sound particularly muffled for about a minute. Then all of a sudden you hear, “so what can your company do to assist us with this”?”
You panic. You didn’t catch the last few minutes and aren’t certain what problem they’re attempting to resolve. Your boss is depending on you to close this deal. What can you do?
Should you acknowledge you didn’t hear them and ask them to reprise what they said? They’ll think you were distracted. Do you start using a lot of sales jargon? No, they’ll see right through that.
Every single day, people everywhere are dealing with scenarios like this at work. Sometimes, they try to pretend they’re okay and wing it.
So in general, how is your work being impacted by your hearing loss? The following can 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 neglected 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 difficult to understand the above example. Unfortunately, he didn’t close the deal. 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 over $1000.
The situation was misinterpreted. But that doesn’t change the effect on his career. If he was using hearing aids, think about how different things might have been.
On the Job Injuries
A study reported in the Journal of The American Medical Association discovered 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 significant fall and winding up in the emergency room.
And it might come as a surprise that people with minor hearing loss had the highest danger among those with hearing loss. Maybe, their hearing loss is minor enough that they don’t even know about it.
How to have a successful career with hearing loss
You have so much to offer an employer:
These positive qualities 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 steps to minimize the impact like:
- Use your hearing aids at work every day, at all times. If you have your hearing aids in you might not even need many of the accommodations.
- Request that you get a hearing aid compatible (HAC) phone. The sound goes directly into your ear and not through background noise. In order to use this technology you will need a hearing aid that’s appropriate.
- Know that you aren’t required to disclose that you have hearing loss when you’re interviewing. And it’s not okay for the interviewer to ask. But the other side is whether your hearing loss will have an impact on your ability to have a good interview. In that case, you may choose to reveal this before the interview.
- Compose a respectful accommodations letter to your boss. This way, you have it in writing.
- Keep a well lit work area. Seeing lips can help you follow even if you don’t read lips.
- If a job is going to surpass your capability you need to speak up. For example, your boss might ask you to cover for somebody who works in a noisy area. In order to make up for it, offer to undertake a different task. By doing that, your boss won’t think you’re coping out.
- Look directly at people when you’re speaking with them. Try not to have phone conversations as much as you can.
- Before attending a meeting, ask if you can get a written agenda and overview. Conversations will be easier to keep up with.
Hearing loss at work
Hearing loss can impact your work, even if it’s mild. But many of the obstacles that neglected hearing loss can pose will be resolved by having it treated. Contact us today – we can help!