Just picture for a minute you’re a salesperson. Now picture that you have a call scheduled today with a very important client. Multiple agents from their offices have gathered to talk about whether to hire your company for the job. As the call continues, voices rise and fall…and are at times hard to hear. But you’re quite sure you got the gist of it.
Turning the speaker up just makes it sound more distorted. So you simply make do, reading between the lines. You’re quite 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 says “so precisely how will your company help us solve this?””
You freeze. You didn’t hear the last few minutes and aren’t certain what problem they’re attempting to resolve. Your boss is counting on you to seal this deal. So now what?
Should you admit you didn’t hear them and ask them to repeat 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. They attempt to read between the lines and get by.
But how is untreated hearing loss actually impacting your work as a whole? The following can help us find out.
The Better Hearing Institute questioned 80,000 individuals using the same approach the Census Bureau uses to obtain a representative sampling.
They discovered that individuals who have untreated hearing loss make about $12,000 less per year than people who are able to hear.
Hey, that’s not fair!
Hearing loss impacts your overall performance so it’s not difficult to understand the above example. Sadly, he didn’t close the deal. Everything was going great until the client thought he wasn’t paying attention to them. They didn’t want to deal with a firm that doesn’t listen.
His commission on this deal would have been over $1000.
It was just a misunderstanding. But how do you think this affected his career? If he was wearing hearing aids, imagine how different things might have been.
Individuals who have untreated hearing loss are almost 30% more likely to incur a significant workplace injury according to a study conducted by the American Medical Association. Studies also show a 300% increased chance of having a serious fall and winding up in the emergency room.
And individuals with only minor hearing loss were at the greatest risk, surprisingly! Maybe, their hearing loss is minor enough that they don’t even know about it.
How to have a prosperous career with hearing loss
Your employer has a lot to gain from you:
Hearing loss shouldn’t dominate these. But it is often a factor. You may not even recognize how huge an effect on your job it’s having. Here are a few ways to reduce that impact:
- Use your hearing aids at work every day, all the time. When you do this, many of the accommodations won’t be necessary.
- If a job is going to be beyond your capability you need to speak up. For instance, your boss may want you to cover for someone who works in a noisy part of the building. Offer to do something else to make up for it. If you do that, your boss won’t think you’re coping out.
- Asking for a written overview/agenda before attending a meeting. Conversations will be easier to follow.
- Write a respectful accommodations letter to your boss. By doing this, you have it in writing.
- Recognize that when you’re interviewing, you’re not required to reveal that you have hearing loss. And it isn’t okay for the interviewer to ask. Conversely, you may need to consider if your untreated hearing loss will impact your ability to have a successful interview. You will most likely need to inform the interviewer of your condition if that’s the situation.
- Keep a brightly lit work area. Seeing lips can help you follow along even if you don’t read lips.
- When you’re speaking with people, make certain you look directly at them. Try to keep phone conversations to a minimum.
- Request a phone that is HAC (Hearing Aid Compatible). 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.
Hearing loss at work
Even if you have minor hearing loss, it can still effect your work performance. But many of the obstacles that untreated hearing loss can present will be resolved by having it treated. Call us today – we can help!