Posted November 8, 2011
Hearing problems can affect employees’ productivity and performance
Hearing loss is a permanent problem that more than 36 million Americans struggle with each day. In the past five years, the number of hearing-impaired people has increased nearly 10 percent. And more than half of these individuals are younger than age 65.
Research studies have shown that uncorrected hearing loss can impact relationships with friends and family members, or job success and earning potential. According to the Better Hearing Institute, individuals with hearing loss often have difficulty securing and keeping jobs. Employees with uncorrected hearing loss may struggle to communicate effectively with others, especially if they need to attend meetings, make group presentations, participate in conference calls, or interact with customers.
To help employees with hearing impairment to enjoy a positive work experience, employers may need to adjust the work environment, such as provide a work space with minimal background noise, install special equipment to amplify sound and modify lighting to enhance facial and verbal communication. Employers also may want to educate other associates on how to best communicate with workers who cannot hear well.
Hearing aids can help people communicate successfully on the job, maintain productivity and performance, and improve their professional standing and income. Historically only a few hearing aid options were available, but today there is a variety of choices and sizes, placement options (on or inside the ear) and easy adjustments to accommodate changing sounds in different locations.
Most Americans have difficulty recognizing or admitting that they have developed a hearing problem. Individuals with hearing problems often exhibit some of these signs:
- Doesn’t laugh at jokes because they miss some of the details
- Regularly asks others to repeat what is said in a classroom or meeting
- Often plays music or the TV too loud
- Fails to hear the doorbell or telephone ring
- Routinely asks others to repeat what they’ve said
- Frequently hears only parts of conversations
Adults and children with three or more of these symptoms should consult a physician for a routine hearing evaluation. If an issue is detected, a hearing specialist such as an audiologist or an ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor would be the one to conduct a professional hearing exam to help pinpoint and address the problem.
For more information on hearing impairment or hearing aid options, review these other blogs on Ameritas Insight: