Just picture for a minute you’re a salesperson. Now picture that you have a call scheduled today with a really important client. Your company is being looked at for a job and several people from your company have gathered on a conference call. As the call continues, voices rise and fall…and are at times difficult to hear. But you’re fairly 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’ve become fairly 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 exactly how will your firm help us solve this?””
You panic. You have no idea what their company’s issue is because you didn’t catch the last portion of the discussion. This is your deal and your boss is depending on you. What can you do?
Should you confess you didn’t hear them and ask them to reprise what they said? They might think you weren’t paying attention. What about resorting to some slippery sales jargon? No, they’ll see right through that.
Every single day, individuals everywhere are dealing with situations like this while working. Sometimes, they try to pretend they’re okay and wing it.
So in general, how is your work being affected by your hearing loss? Let’s find out.
The Better Hearing Institute questioned 80,000 people using the same approach the Census Bureau uses to get a representative sampling.
They found that people who have neglected hearing loss make about $12,000 less per year than those who can hear.
That doesn’t seem fair!
Hearing loss effects your general performance so it isn’t hard to understand the above example. The deal couldn’t be closed, unfortunately. 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 contract would have been more than $1000.
It was only a misunderstanding. But how do you think this affected his career? If he was using 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 serious on-the-job injury according to a study conducted by the American Medical Association. Studies have also revealed a 300% increased risk of having a significant fall and ending up in the emergency room.
And individuals with only mild hearing loss were at the highest risk, surprisingly! Maybe, their hearing loss is mild enough that they don’t even know about it.
How to have a successful career with hearing loss
Your employer has a great deal to gain from you:
These positive qualities shouldn’t be overshadowed by hearing loss. But it is often a factor. You might not even know how great an effect on your job it’s having. Take actions to decrease the impact like:
- Speak up when a job is beyond your abilities. For instance, your boss might ask you to cover for somebody who works in a noisy area. Offer to do something else to make up for it. If you do that, your boss won’t think you’re just trying to get out of doing work.
- Be aware that you’re not required to divulge that you have hearing loss when you’re interviewing. And the interviewer may not ask. But the other consideration is whether your hearing loss will have an impact on your ability to have a good interview. You will probably need to inform the interviewer of your condition if that’s the situation.
- Look directly at people when you’re speaking with them. Try not to talk on the phone as much as possible.
- Never disregard wearing your hearing aids while you’re working and all of the rest of the time. If you have your hearing aids in you may not even require many of the accommodations.
- So that you have it in writing, it’s a good idea to draft up a respectful accommodations letter for your boss.
- Requesting a written overview/agenda before attending a meeting. It will be easier to follow the conversation.
- Request a phone that is HAC (Hearing Aid Compatible). The sound goes directly into your ear and not through background noise. In order to utilize this technology you will need a hearing aid that’s compatible.
- Make sure your work area is well lit. Even if you don’t read lips, looking directly at them can help you understand what’s being said.
Working with hearing loss
Hearing loss can impact your work, even if it’s minor. But lots of the challenges that neglected hearing loss can create will be resolved by having it treated. Contact us today – we can help!