Hearing loss is not just a problem for those who are retired, it also affects those working age too. Of the 11 million people in the UK with hearing loss, just under half of those with hearing loss in the UK are people of working age. It can be can be a stressful thing to deal with hearing loss in the workplace. The first reflex is to ignore the problem and hope it goes away. But it can have a huge on your performance. A report by the charity Action On Hearing Loss found that 70% of people with hearing loss remarked that their condition “sometimes prevented them from fulfilling their potential at work.” This might explain why those with hearing loss is are employed at a rate of 65%, compared to 79% for those who don’t have hearing loss or any other health problem. Due to prevailing attitudes to hearing loss from employers, it can be understandable why employees with hearing loss are often unwilling to disclose to raise their concerns. Many fear that it will affect their employability or reduce their chances of moving up the company. Others find it hard to reconcile with the social embarrassment of disclosing their hearing loss to their work colleagues.
The consequences of hearing loss are potentially damaging for your long-term career, so it’s vitally important that you take action. Here are some things you can do to maximise your success in the workplace.
If you only take one piece of advice from this article, make it this one. It is a tough thing to do, but full disclosure is needed if you want other around you to help. People are remarkably considerate once they are aware of what they need to look out for. It’s also important to remind yourself of your value to the company. Far from being a victim, try to see yourself as an important member of the team, who just needs a little help from others in order to bring out the best in you.
Nobody is a better judge of your needs in the workplace than you. So try to make clear the things you need in order to be the most effective you can be. Your employer has a responsible to make ‘reasonable changes’ to help you work better, so talk to your boss to see whether they are able to meet your particular needs.
Your choice of seat plays a large part in determining how well you hear, and this is especially true if you work in an open plan office, as is the work trend these days. These places make it very hard to zone out other peoples’ conversations and usually feature reverberating sounds from all directions, so it’s a good idea to take steps to reduce the background noise around you. Ask you employer if its possible to you to claim a seat with your back to the wall to avoid noise from behind you. This will make easier to hear others. It will be even better if you could nab a corner seat as this will block off sound from two different directions. During meetings, try and sit in the centre of the table so that your can see everyone’s lips, which will give you the best chance of successfully lip reading. If you are watching someone deliver a PowerPoint presentation, sit close to the speaker so you can hear them. This is especially important if they are unamplified.
Thankfully, technology in the workplace has evolved to the point where it’s no longer strange to ask people to email you about important conversations and requests. It’s easier for everyone to keep track of the issue, and it helps you understand and respond more appropriately. Some are still quite old-fashioned and will insist on a face-to-face or phone call. In that case, a face-to-face chat in a quiet room with good light is the next best option, followed by a video chat with similar environmental standards. Again, by letting other know of your hearing loss, colleagues will be much more understanding when you ask them to email you.
Communication is so important in the workplace and hearing aids help employees to have conversations with others in background noise. They can also help you hear better when on the phone. Modern hearing aids are discreet, technologically advanced and will multiply the benefits of all the methods you employ above. Why not contact us at House of Hearing today to see how our hearing aids can make you more effective at work?