May is Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM), and this year’s theme is “Communication at Work,” highlighting the impact of hearing loss in the workplace.Workers are at high risk for hearing loss
Hearing loss doesn’t just affect retirees, in fact 60% of people with hearing loss either work or are in school.1 And if you’re one of the 31 million Americans who are regularly exposed to potentially damaging noise levels or chemicals at work, you’re at high risk for developing hearing loss.2
Chances are either you or one of your colleagues has hearing loss. But what impact does hearing loss have on those in the workplace?
The impact of hearing loss in the workplace
You may not realize it, but hearing loss is critical to on-the-job communication. Imagine misrepresenting this month’s financial report because you heard the numbers wrong or stepping out in front of a forklift because you didn’t hear it coming behind you. For those with untreated hearing loss, there are many social, emotional, and financial impacts in the workplace, including:
- Mistakes on the job
- Difficulty communicating
- Less pay compared to your peers without hearing loss3
- Emotional frustration from miscommunication and constantly asking people to repeat themselves
- Withdrawal and isolation from social activity
Learning how hearing loss affects people at work can be eye-opening. But seeking early treatment can help reduce your risk for hearing loss related impacts. How do you know if you or someone you work with has hearing loss? Watch for these signs.
Signs of hearing loss in the workplace:
- Trouble following conversations when people are talking at the same time
- Unable to hear in noisy environments
- Regularly misunderstanding what people are saying or asking people to repeat themselves
- Thinking people are being too quiet or are mumbling
- Not contributing or joining the discussion in meetings
- Change in performance level
Knowing these signs is the first step to taking ownership of your hearing health. If one of your coworkers is displaying these symptoms, you may want to encourage them to get their hearing checked. But make sure you approach them in a kind, but frank way.
While you might want to say: ‘Hey buddy, get your ears checked.,’ instead try ‘John, I noticed that you’ve been asking people to repeat themselves a lot and have a hard time hearing when we’re in the loud warehouse. I just learned that those are both signs of hearing loss. Would you consider getting your hearing checked?’
Taking the time to explain what behaviors you’ve been seeing in them and what the signs of hearing loss are can help you navigate this tricky conversation with your coworker.
Make a commitment to hearing health during Better Hearing and Speech Month
During Better Hearing & Speech Month, Amplifon Hearing Health Care urges you to make a strong commitment to your hearing health.
This commitment can take a number of forms, such as protecting your hearing when exposed to high levels of noise, getting your hearing checked on a regular basis, seeking professional care for hearing concerns, and being an advocate for those around you with hearing loss.
3Marke Trak VIII study