Hearing Loss May Affect Your Job. Hearing loss can have many unexpected effects on our lives. Of course, hearing loss affects our ability to simply hear the world around us. That could be through conversations with friends and loved ones, or maybe it’s not being able to hear sounds in the environment such as passing cars, bird’s songs, or wind rustling through the treetops.
How Hearing Loss Affects Me
When we lose our hearing, our comfort and communication as a whole can change a lot. It can make us feel disoriented in any given space. It can also make us less willing to participate in the world around us. Hearing loss can make us feel isolated in social situations because we don’t feel like we can hear conversations.
When we do try to participate, we can be often overcome with nervousness and anxiety about whether we are speaking loudly enough, or whether we are speaking too loudly. In turn, it can be embarrassing when the people we are speaking with feel they have to speak loudly, trying to adjust for our hearing loss.
Hearing Loss in the Workplace
The changes in our hearing abilities and communication styles can negatively affect our experiences in the workplace, as well. There are links between people with untreated hearing loss and lower wages. A 2012 study published in a journal called Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology found that people with hearing loss earn significantly lower wages than people with full hearing abilities. It also said and that hearing loss sufferers are more likely to be unemployed.
A study published by the Better Hearing Institute suggests that people with untreated hearing loss earn an average of $20,000 less a year than people who are not hard of hearing. Unfortunately, these studies do not necessarily explore why this is the case. But, there are steps you can take to address your hearing loss and the way it affects you in your workplace.
Addressing Your Hearing Loss
Problem and Solution
The first step is to visit us at Hearing Group for a hearing test. The honest advice of a professional will help you develop a plan for better hearing health. This may even include getting some kind of hearing assistance devices.
Let Them Know
The second step is to be clear and direct about your communication needs at your workplace. It might be useful to simply disclose to your employer and colleagues that you are experiencing hearing loss. They may not know that you have a hearing issue. The more you communicate about your hearing needs, the better equipped you will most likely be to complete your work. You may choose to simply explain that you hear out of one ear better than the other without going into details. You may also choose to explain that you have hearing loss and let people know the best way to communicate with you. For example, you may request that people contact you via text message, instant message, or email rather than calling you on the phone.
It may also be useful to explain that you are using a hearing assistance device if that is the case for you. Let people know they might not need to speak louder, but perhaps speaking more slowly and clearly would be helpful. The goal here is to prevent future misunderstandings, so the clearer you are about your needs, the better!
Wages May Go Up With Hearing Aids
A study by the Better Hearing Institute suggests that treating hearing loss with hearing aids can really improve one?s wages. The 2011 study found that hearing loss may cost people around $26 billion in federal taxes. This means that there is approximately $176 billion in wages lost due to underemployment, directly related to hearing loss. However, when people bring hearing aids into the workplace, things improve. Sergei Kochkin of the Better Hearing Institute suggests that 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.
Visit Us at Hearing Group
When you treat your hearing loss, whether through getting hearing aid devices and/or changing your communication patterns, you not only improve your quality of life but you might also directly impact your earning power. Contact us at Hearing Group today to schedule a consultation.