Don’t Lose Money To Hearing Loss
People with untreated hearing loss can lose as much as $30,000 in income each year, according to recent research. But having a hearing impairment doesn’t have to mean taking a back seat in your career. Use these tips to communicate better on the job.
According to a study by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), 60 percent of people with hearing loss are in the workforce. But if that hearing loss isn’t addressed, it can lead to lower productivity, decreased performance, diminished career success and loss of earnings.
On average, those with untreated hearing loss earned $30,000 less per year than their normal-hearing peers, due to lost bonuses, missed promotions, poor productivity and termination.
First Step: Visit An Audiologist
If you live with hearing loss, the first thing you need to do is visit an audiologist to diagnose your condition. Your impaired hearing could be from something easily treated like a wax buildup or a side-effect from medications. And if it’s a more permanent type of hearing loss, hearing aids should be able to help.
Once you’ve figured out the cause of your hearing impairment and taken the recommended solutions, you can use these tips at work - and elsewhere - to makes sure you’re hearing your best.
1. Tell Your Co-Workers
Tell your boss and your co-workers that you have impaired hearing. Let them know how you hear best, when it’s difficult for you to hear, and tell them the best ways to communicate with you.
2. Stay Face-To-Face
Lip reading, body language and facial expressions make face-to-face communication easier for people with hearing loss. Ask your colleagues to speak to you in person whenever possible, rather than over the phone.
3. Approach From The Front
Ask people to walk into your line of sight if you’re not responding when they speak to you. Being tapped on the back can be startling, but you’ll be able to anticipate someone coming towards you if you see them approaching from the front.
4. Face Forward
During meetings, ask people to speak when they are facing forward, and not when their backs are turned to screens or facedown in their notes. It’s easier to understand what someone is saying when their voice is projecting toward you.
5. Use Private Spaces
Ambient noise makes open-office cubicles noisier than closed-office environments. This makes hearing and concentrating more difficult, especially for someone with a hearing impairment. If possible, ask for an office with a closing door, so you can tune out the noise and work more efficiently.
Correct Your Hearing to Avoid Lost Income
Having a hearing impairment doesn’t need to take anything away from having a happy, productive working environment. And it doesn’t need to mean lost income either. The BHI study found that people with corrected hearing didn’t suffer the same lost income as those with uncorrected hearing.
Stay in communication with your colleagues, and visit your audiologist regularly to make sure you have everything you need to hear your best – at work, at home and in your life.