Has work become ‘hard work’ recently?
Research has revealed that most people wait 8 years from first noticing hearing difficulties to finally being fitted with hearing aids.
So if you’re still in the workforce, that is an extended period where your work performance may not be at its peak.
The Hearing Care Industry Association’s report, The Social and Economic Cost of Hearing Loss in Australia, stated that the financial costs of hearing loss in 2017 are estimated as $15.9 billion.
A significant percentage of that – $12.8 billion – is attributable to productivity losses. Of this group, men aged 50-64, bore the highest costs, due to the larger productivity losses as they were still of working age.
But there is good news. Diagnosing your hearing loss sooner, rather than later, will improve work performance and better your well-being. And yes, the accountants have put a dollar value on that too. The value of the lost well-being was estimated to be $17.4 billion in 2017.
If you’re considering hearing aids, we recommend thoroughly reviewing our web site. Everything you need to know about choosing and wearing hearing aids is there.
The next step is to address your work situation.
Speaking to colleagues
Don’t be afraid to let your colleagues know you have hearing loss, and ask they communicate with you in specific ways to ensure you fully understand what is being said.
Be specific about the nature of your hearing loss – i.e. “I find it difficult to hear when there is a lot of background noise.”
- Suggesting the person talking to you stand in front of you to talk
- Ask that if, instead of repeating the information, the person rephrases the information instead
- Consider changing the ringtone on your phone and have one with a flashing light call indicator
- Keep phone calls short and confirm key points at the end of the call.
About the work environment
Consider changing your desk so it is located in a quieter part of the office.
This might be a challenge to do in an open plan environment but it can be done. Use partitioning to reduce the amount of ambient noise that filters through. Soft furnishings such as curtains, carpets and cushions absorb a lot of sound, thus making an area less noisy.
If it not possible to set your desk space to minimise noise, there are alternatives. Suggest that there be a quiet room, such as a meeting room where you can hold work conversations. This is especially important if there are competing noise sources such as radios playing in the background.
Ensure you have plenty of natural light – and none of the glare. Seeing someone’s well-lit face will help make it easier to converse with them.
At meetings, ask that an agenda be prepared in advance. Afterwards, request that minutes are circulated afterwards to ensure you don’t miss any important information.
If you need to additional hearing support, table microphones like the Phonak Roger range, which streams around the table conversations directly to your hearing aid, are a highly effective solution for meetings.
Getting your hearing tested and any hearing loss addressed as soon as possible increases the options for maximising your hearing – especially in that all important area of speech in noise which means you can also improve your performance in the workforce and maximise that all important well-being.