For just a second, picture that you’re working as a salesperson. Now imagine that you have a call scheduled today with a very valuable client. Multiple representatives from their offices have come together to talk about whether to employ your business for the job. As the call continues, voices go up and down…and are sometimes difficult to hear. But you’re quite sure you got the gist of it.
And it sounds distorted and even less clear when you keep turning the volume up. So you simply do your best, interpreting what’s being said the best you can. You’ve become fairly good at that.
As you listen, the voices sound specifically muffled for around a minute. This is the stage where the potential client asks “so precisely how will your company help us solve this?””
You freeze. You have no clue what their company’s issue is because you didn’t hear 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’ll think you were distracted. What about relying on some slippery sales jargon? No, that will be too conspicuous.
Individuals go through situations like this every day when they are at work. Sometimes, they try to pretend they’re okay and wing it.
So in general, how is your work being affected by your hearing loss? The following can help us 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.
Individuals who have disregarded hearing loss earn, on average, $12,000 less per year.
That doesn’t seem fair!
We could dig deep to try to find out what the cause is, but as the example above shows, hearing loss can impact your general performance. Unfortunately, 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 company 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 impacted his career? How might things have been different if he were wearing his hearing aids?
Injuries on the job
A study reported in the Journal of The American Medical Association found that individuals with neglected hearing loss are almost 30% more likely to suffer a significant work accident. And, your risk of ending up in the emergency room after a significant fall goes up by 300% according to other studies.
And individuals with only mild hearing loss were at the greatest risk, unexpectedly! Perhaps they don’t recognize that hearing loss of any kind impairs an individual at work.
Even if you have hearing loss, you can still be successful at work
Your employer has a lot to gain from you:
These positive attributes shouldn’t be dominated 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 steps to reduce the impact like:
- When you’re speaking with people, make certain you look directly at them. Try to keep phone calls to a minimum.
- Ask for a phone that is HAC (Hearing Aid Compatible). The sound goes directly into your ear and not through background noise. You will need hearing aids that will work with this technology to use one.
- Make sure your work area is well lit. Even if you’re not a lip reader, being able to see them can help you discern what’s being said.
- If a job is going to surpass your capability you need to speak up. For example, your boss might want you to cover for somebody who works in a really loud area. In order to make up for it, offer to take on a different job. If you do that, your boss won’t think you’re coping out.
- Be aware that you aren’t required to reveal 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 successful interview. In that situation, you may decide to divulge this before the interview.
- Asking for a written outline/agenda before attending a meeting. Discussions will be easier to follow.
- So that you have it in writing, it’s not a bad plan to compose a respectful accommodations letter for your boss.
- Never neglect using your hearing aids while you’re at work and all of the rest of the time. If you’re wearing your hearing aids you may not even require many of the accommodations.
Working with hearing loss
Hearing loss can effect your work, even if it’s minor. But many of the challenges that untreated hearing loss can create will be resolved by getting it treated. Give us a call today – we can help!