How Hearing Loss May Affect Your Job

How Hearing Loss May Affect Your Job

In Hearing Loss Signs & Symptoms by Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A

Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A

Dr. Jennifer G. Mayer purchased South Shore Hearing Center in January 2016. She was born and raised in Swampscott, MA. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing in 1996 from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and her Master’s degree in audiology from the Northeastern University in 1998. Dr. Mayer fulfilled her Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY) in 1999 at Hear USA and Cape Cod Ear, Nose and Throat.
Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A

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Finding work in the modern workplace is more and more difficult each year. Many people are competing for jobs in a wider age range than at any point in modern history. Because of this large amount of competition, employers can be pickier and discriminating in who they hire. Any reason they may be able to find to disqualify someone they will use it. This includes physical ailments.

While companies cannot legally discriminate based on age or physical disability, they can create minimum requirements for prospective employees. This may include vision and hearing tests. Due to factors such as old age and previous jobs in industrial settings, a person’s hearing may have deteriorated over the years. If their hearing is bad, they will be impacted by miscommunication, lost productivity, and customer relations issues. Given enough time, their occupation will be put in jeopardy.

How poor hearing affects managers

The main issue with the loss of hearing is a loss of communication. Communication is the most important to managers as they are the ones who must give instructions to the team. Not only must they receive clear instructions from the people above them, but they must relay this information to the workers in a clear and concise form. If this chain of command is broken, it could have consequences that can reverberate through the company. Millions of dollars could be lost by something as simple as hearing ‘five’, when the person actually said ‘nine’.

Managers must make sure that the instructions they receive are clear, so they can give their employees the right direction, that will keep everyone on the same page.

How poor hearing affects employees

Hearing loss can strike any worker in any occupation, white collar or blue collar. Tradesmen are the most vulnerable, due the use of loud machines and power tools in enclosed spaces. If hearing loss is not dealt with, it can cause the worker to make costly mistakes which put his job in danger.

Since it is the job of any employee to follow directions and execute them, it will be a huge problem if the instructions are not heard. It can especially be a problem for managers who rely heavily on speech, and do not enjoy repeating themselves. Bad hearing can immediately put you in the crosshairs of this type of boss.

Solutions for hearing loss

When hearing impairment is detected, it is important to solve the problem quickly, before people catch on. Enough times saying ‘huh?’ or ‘could you repeat that?’ and your coworkers will quickly find out that your hearing is gone. Workplace politics could make you the biggest liability if people start talking. We all want to believe we are diligent workers, but let’s be honest, most employees are looking for a way to pass the buck, and to throw someone under the bus. You don’t need to see yourself on the chopping block because you were too proud to get a hearing test.

As a matter of fact, the hearing test should be your first decision. You need to get your hearing checked, and to have your physician, or technician plan for you a solution suitable for your level of hearing, your rate of degeneration, and your budget. Until a solution is found, you still have to work with your coworkers. Utilize other forms of communication, such as emails, phone calls, social media etc. to see your instructions in as many ways as possible. Also, do not be ashamed to ask your coworkers about certain details you didn’t hear, and use your own expertise to fill in the blanks. If you have a less than comfortable working atmosphere, make it seem like a quiz.

What Your Employers Can Do

Your company should be dedicated to your flourishing in their environment, because it is good for the bottom line. Whatever level you are in the company, you can get the information about your health insurance plan from management or human resources. Look it over and make sure hearing loss is covered. If not, do not be afraid to ask them if they know of anyone else who can assist you. A good manager, or coworker will have no problem giving you the information they have, and checking with you to make sure you followed through.