For just a second, picture that you’re working as a salesperson. Today, you’re having a very important call with a possible client. Your company is being looked at for a job and numerous individuals from your business have gathered on a conference call. All of the different voices get a bit muddled and hard to understand. But you’re hearing most of it.
And it sounds distorted and even less clear when you continue turning up the volume. So you simply do your best, interpreting what’s being said the best you can. You’ve become pretty 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 asks “so precisely how will your company help us solve this?””
You panic. You have no idea what their company’s problem is because you didn’t hear the last portion of the discussion. Your boss is counting on you to close this deal. What can you do?
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, that will be too conspicuous.
People go through scenarios like this every day when they are at work. Sometimes, they try to pretend they’re okay and wing it.
But how is neglected hearing loss really affecting your work as a whole? Let’s find out.
The Better Hearing Institute surveyed 80,000 people using the same approach the Census Bureau uses to get a representative sampling.
They discovered that individuals who have neglected hearing loss earn around $12,000 less per year than those who can hear.
That doesn’t seem fair!
We could dig deep to attempt to find out what the cause is, but as the example above demonstrates, hearing loss can impact your general performance. Sadly, he didn’t close the deal. When they got the impression that the salesperson wasn’t paying attention to them, they went with someone else. They didn’t want to work with a company that doesn’t listen.
His commission on this contract would have been more than $1000.
The situation was misinterpreted. But that doesn’t change the effect on his career. How might things have been different if he were using his hearing aids?
Injuries on the job
A study reported in the Journal of The American Medical Association found that people with untreated hearing loss are nearly 30% more likely to suffer a significant work accident. Studies also show a 300% increased chance of having a serious fall and winding up in the emergency room.
And people with only minor hearing loss were at the highest risk, unexpectedly! Perhaps, their hearing loss is minor enough that they’re not even aware of it.
How to have a successful career with hearing loss
Your employer has a great deal to gain from you:
Hearing loss shouldn’t dominate these. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a factor. You may not even realize how huge an impact on your job it’s having. Take steps to minimize the impact like:
- Understand that when you’re interviewing, you aren’t required to reveal that you have hearing loss. And it isn’t 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 successful interview. You will most likely need to make the interviewer aware of your condition if that’s the case.
- Face people when you’re talking to them. Try to keep phone conversations to a minimum.
- Requesting a written overview/agenda before attending a meeting. Conversations will be easier to follow.
- If a job is going to surpass your capability you need to speak up. Your boss might, for example, ask you to go and do some work in an area of the building that can be really loud. Offer to do something else to make up for it. In this way, it never seems as if you aren’t doing your part.
- Request a phone that is HAC (Hearing Aid Compatible). The sound doesn’t pass through background noise but rather goes directly into your ear. In order to utilize this technology you will need a hearing aid that’s compatible.
- Make sure your work area is well lit. Seeing lips can help you follow along even if you don’t read lips.
- So that you have it in writing, it’s a good idea to draft up a respectful accommodations letter for your boss.
- Wear your hearing aids while your working every day, all the time. When you do this, many of the accommodations aren’t necessary.
Working with hearing loss
Even if you have slight hearing loss, it can still impact your work performance. But lots of the challenges that untreated hearing loss can present will be solved by having it treated. Call us today – we can help!