For just a moment, imagine that you’re working as a salesperson. Today, you’re on a very important call with a potential client. Your company is being looked at for a job and several people from your business have come together on a conference call. All of the various voices get a bit jumbled and difficult to understand. But you’re pretty sure you got the gist of it.
Cranking 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 says “so precisely how will your company help us solve this?””
You freeze. You have no clue what their company’s problem is because you didn’t catch the last part of the conversation. This is your deal and your boss is depending on you. What can you do?
Should you acknowledge you didn’t hear them and ask them to repeat what they said? They’ll think you were distracted. What about resorting to some slippery sales jargon? No, they’ll see right through that.
Individuals go through scenarios like this every day when they are at work. Oftentimes, they try to pretend they’re fine and wing it.
So in general, how is your work being affected by your hearing loss? Let’s find out.
A representative sampling of 80,000 individuals was collected by The Better Hearing Institute utilizing the same approach that the Census Bureau uses.
They discovered that individuals who have untreated hearing loss earn around $12,000 less per year than people who are able to hear.
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, unfortunately. When they got the impression that the salesperson wasn’t listening to them, they pulled out. They decided to go with a company that listens better.
His commission on this deal would have been over $1000.
It was only a misunderstanding. But that doesn’t change the impact on his career. How may things have been different if he were using his hearing aids?
A study reported in the Journal of The American Medical Association discovered that people with untreated hearing loss are nearly 30% more likely to have a significant work accident. Studies also show a 300% increased risk of having a significant fall and ending up in the emergency room.
And people with only mild hearing loss were at the greatest 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
You have a lot to offer an employer:
These positive qualities shouldn’t be dominated by hearing loss. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a factor. It may be affecting your job more than you realize. Here are some ways to reduce that impact:
- Use your hearing aids while your working every day, at all times. When you do this, lots of of the accommodations aren’t necessary.
- Request a phone that is HAC (Hearing Aid Compatible). The sound goes directly into your ear instead of through background noise. In order to utilize this technology you will require a hearing aid that’s appropriate.
- Before a meeting, find out if you can get a written agenda and overview. It will be easier to keep up with the conversation.
- Understand that when you’re interviewing, you’re not required to divulge that you have hearing loss. And the interviewer can’t ask. Conversely, you might need to consider if your untreated hearing loss will affect your ability to interview well. In that situation, you may choose to divulge this before the interview.
- Be certain your work area is well lit. Even if you’re not a lip reader, being able to see them can help you understand what’s being said.
- If a job is going to be beyond your capability you need to speak up. For example, your boss may ask you to cover for someone who works in a really loud area. In order to make up for it, offer to undertake a different job. If you do that, your boss won’t think you’re coping out.
- When you’re talking with people, make certain you face them. Try not to talk on the phone as much as you can.
- Compose a respectful accommodations letter to your boss. This way, you have it in writing.
Working with hearing loss
Hearing loss can effect your work, even if it’s slight. But lots of the challenges that untreated hearing loss can pose will be resolved by having it treated. Contact us today – we can help!