Communication is essential for a productive workplace. To work as a team and perform your tasks, you must communicate successfully with your coworkers and managers, but you must also guarantee that your requirements as a worker are satisfied. Going about your workday with untreated hearing loss, on the other hand, can make communication difficult in the office, putting a strain on your mental well-being, perhaps harming your relationships with coworkers, and even lowering your pay.
Untreated hearing loss and its impacts
Untreated hearing loss can have a significant impact on your ability to work. If you have hearing loss, you may be hesitant to do the simple tasks that fill your day, such as answering the phone, conversing with coworkers at the water cooler, or speaking up in group meetings. Furthermore, your coworkers may be unaware of your hearing loss, resulting in awkward (if not downright dangerous) miscommunication. The day-to-day routines of your workplace can become highly stressful, anxiety-producing, and downright terrible if you have untreated hearing loss or if you have not reported your hearing loss to your coworkers.
Hearing loss could affect earnings
Furthermore, hearing loss might have a direct financial impact. According to a 2012 study published in the journal Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology, people with hearing loss earn much less than those with total hearing capacity. Furthermore, those with hearing loss are more likely to be unemployed, according to the study. According to a different study published by the Better Hearing Institute in 2011, those with untreated hearing loss earn $20,000 less per year than people who do not have hearing loss. These lost wages add to a total federal tax deficit of roughly $26 billion. Hearing loss may be directly responsible for $176 billion in lost wages due to underemployment.
How to survive working with hearing loss
If you have hearing loss and are concerned that it will impair your job or career, you can do a few things to better your situation.
Get tested: The first step is to meet with a hearing health specialist and receive a hearing test to assess the extent of your hearing loss and develop a care plan to ensure that you are effectively treating your hearing needs.
Use hearing aids: Hearing aids are an excellent method to improve your work life. Hearing aids, of course, assist people in hearing, but they also assist them in communicating. “When people with even mild hearing loss use hearing aids, they improve their job performance, increase earning potential, enhance their communication skills, improve professional relationships, stave off depression, and improve the quality of their life,” says Sergei Kochkin of the Better Hearing Institute.
Full disclosure: Allowing your coworkers to know that you are experiencing hearing loss and have specific hearing needs is critical in enhancing your workplace communication. It’s a good idea to let people know that you hear better out of one ear than the other and that anyone wanting to speak with you should do so from that side of your body.
Communicate your needs to coworkers: It’s also a good idea to let folks know how to communicate with you when you’re in person. You may not require (or desire) that others speak louder to you, but rather that they communicate more slowly and clearly to you. There are many ways to interact digitally these days, and you can request that coworkers contact you via text, instant message, or email rather than phoning you on the phone.
Ask your manager for accommodations: Employers have a legal requirement to provide you with all the tools you might need to be the best employee possible. You will be better equipped to work for yourself and your coworkers if you are as explicit about your hearing skills and needs to your employer.
Treating Hearing Loss
It’s critical to have a hearing test if you’ve had trouble hearing in the workplace or other areas of your life. We offer a full range of hearing health treatments, and we look forward to assisting you in hearing your best!