Don’t Let Hearing Loss Force You Into Early Retirement

Once upon a time, people were rewarded for career longevity with gold watches and pensions. The times may have changed, with fewer people remaining loyal to one company their entire lives, but improvements in health care have resulted in people pushing back the traditional retirement age and working well into their 60s or even 70s. Hearing loss becomes more prevalent with age, so it’s important to take steps to ensure you won’t be forced into an early retirement due to a medical condition.

Hearing Impairment Challenges in the Workplace

coworkers gathered around a computer in a conference room

Hearing loss affects roughly one in five people in Las Vegas. Many of these individuals are still in the prime of their careers. While the Americans With Disabilities Act prohibits companies from discriminating against people with disabilities, hearing loss – which falls under this category – can still negatively affect your career.

Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology published a hearing loss study in 2013 showing employees with hearing loss earned around 25 percent less than their coworkers with normal hearing. Unfortunately, even a minor hearing impairment can give people the impression that you lack competence and may encourage your employer to skip over you for a promotion in favor of somebody else. It’s tough to prove discrimination, so enforcement of the law is next to impossible.

A 2014 hearing loss survey of 1,500 full-time workers found the biggest challenges hearing-impaired workers face are:

  • Having to ask people to repeat what they said (61 percent)
  • Misunderstanding what’s being said (42 percent)
  • Pretending to hear even when they can’t (40 percent)

While online communication has replaced a lot of face-to-face contact in the modern office, it will never eliminate the need for meetings and personal conversations. Completing your job effectively while avoiding contact with others simply isn’t an effective working strategy.

Tips for On-the-Job Success

Hearing loss won’t negatively impact your productivity, but it can put a dent in your self-esteem and confidence, increasing the likelihood you’ll commit errors. The following tips will help you avoid falling into this trap and remain at the top of your game.

  • Schedule an appointment with a Las Vegas audiologist for a hearing exam. It’s possible you aren’t even aware of a problem – hearing loss develops gradually, and many automatically adapt to it. An audiologist can provide treatment solutions that will improve your quality of life and make your job easier. Many will be able to take advantage of the benefits from hearing aids.
  • Many people shy away from drawing attention to their impairment, but letting your coworkers know you have hearing loss will make them more understanding and less apt to judge you poorly.
  • Get in the habit of recording meetings and phone calls to make sure you don’t miss anything important. Invest in a small digital recorder (or even your phone’s built-in microphone) and give the recording a review afterward.
  • In lieu of (or in addition to) recordings, ask management for follow-up emails and copies of meeting minutes so you have quick access to key details.

Want more strategies for working with hearing loss? Give your Las Vegas audiologist a call today.