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How Hearing Loss May Affect Your Job

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As you may know, hearing loss can get in the way of your ability to communicate clearly and easily with others. When a person with hearing loss tries to carry on a conversation with a community member at the grocery store or a close friend over coffee, these interactions can be strained and difficult. Navigating the world becomes a serious challenge for those who have hearing loss, and basic tasks can become complicated or confusing. When you consider the effects on the workplace, those challenges take on a new tenor. Not only do those with hearing loss have trouble efficiently performing their duties at work, but they can also pose a safety risk to themselves and others in some instances. With these implications for the workplace in mind, it is more urgent than ever to seek treatment for hearing loss for those who face these challenges on the job. Let’s take a look at two of the ways that hearing loss in the workplace can become an obstacle to effective and safe performance.

Workplace Communication

In some jobs, it is clear that hearing loss is an issue for performance. Those who work in customer service or front-of-house roles will need to interact with the public to properly perform their jobs. Even a small lapse in hearing can create confusion with a customer or client, making it difficult to provide the services that are necessary. Although these jobs are clearly reliant on communication ability, you might be surprised how many jobs require verbal communication for effective performance. Take, for instance, a person working on an assembly line in a car manufacturing facility. Although most of the daily tasks in the job do not require communication, updates to the workflow and other instructions from supervisors are crucial to performance. If a manager tells an employee to change a work protocol in any way, that information will be necessary to continue the task and to avoid a logjam in the workflow to other employees. One misstep can cause a domino rally that leads to major inefficiency in the task. In fact, statistics show that those who have untreated hearing loss in the workplace tend to make less money, on average, than their counterparts who do not have hearing loss. With these potential inefficiencies in mind, you can see why a supervisor may become frustrated or concerned about the performance of someone with untreated hearing loss in the workplace.

Workplace Safety

Although efficiency in job performance is an important concern, there are more serious issues to consider when it comes to hearing loss in the workplace. The bottom line is not the only matter at hand when it comes to hearing loss at work. Safety information often requires the individuals in a workplace to share with one another to spread the word as quickly and effectively as possible. If there is an issue in the work process, there may be an alarm or other indicator of a safety hazard. When a person with hearing loss is stationed at the location where that alarm sounds, it is necessary to pass along that information to others, but hearing loss can get in the way of noticing the alert. In many cases of industrial facilities and other hazardous workplaces, there is not an alarm to sound for certain dangers in the production process. Workers are expected to notice malfunctions, sometimes using audible cues of danger. If one of these cues is missed, a person with hearing loss can lead to a chain reaction of not only ineffective work but also danger to themselves and other employees.

Workplace efficiency and safety both rely on communication in a wide variety of occupations. If you are concerned about your ability to hear these messages and warnings at work, the time is now to get a hearing test and to confirm your workplace performance. If the test shows that you have hearing loss, you can seek treatment to make sure your workplace performance is not compromised. Don’t delay getting the treatment you need to remain effective, safe, and productive in your role at work. That treatment might be the key to efficiency and safety for yourself and others! Contact us today for more information.