May is Better Hearing and Speech Month! For over 90 years, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has provided resources, information, and education about communication disorders such as hearing loss. Members of the Association include audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and scientists, who are working together to help everyone communicate. This year, the theme of Better Hearing and Speech Month is Communication at Work. Whether you’re still going into work every day, or find yourself working from home, communicating clearly has never been more important.
Some Jobs May Put Your Hearing at Risk
If you work in a noisy sector, such as construction, manufacturing, farming, or law enforcement, you have a higher risk of hearing loss. In fact, there’s a high chance that you or one of your coworkers already have hearing loss. You’re surrounded by dangerously loud noise on a daily basis, and if you’re not wearing the proper hearing protection, this noise will damage the cells in your inner ear, leading to hearing loss. Hearing loss doesn’t just affect seniors, and millions of children, teenagers, and adults also have hearing loss.
How Hearing Loss Impacts Your Job
When you start to notice changes in your hearing health, you may think it’s not a big deal. However, hearing clearly is important when it comes to communication both in the office and on the jobsite. If you’ve misheard instructions, you could be putting yourself or your coworkers in danger on the job. When you’re unable to hear a warning beep or a shout, you’re more likely to have a workplace accident. And if you’re presenting a report, you could misrepresent some important information because you didn’t hear it clearly the first time. This impacts your job performance, and could lead to problems at work. If you have untreated hearing loss, it could impact your job in the following ways:
- You will make more mistakes while working.
- You’ll have trouble communicating with your employer and your coworkers.
- You’ll feel frustrated that you need to ask people what’s been said.
- You may risk being fired.
- You could be overlooked for a promotion.
- You will have a lower salary compared to your hearing peers.
Protecting Your Hearing
If you work on a noisy jobsite, find out more about protecting your hearing. Employers are required to provide appropriate hearing protection to their staff, but make sure it’s providing enough protection to keep your ears safe. Find out if you’re wearing the hearing protection appropriately, and make sure you wear protection whenever sounds are dangerously loud. If you find yourself yelling to speak to the coworker standing next to you, it’s too loud! Move your conversation to a quieter location, or put on your hearing protection immediately.
Identifying the Signs of Hearing Loss at Work
Clear communication at work is critical to doing your job well. Whether you work on a jobsite, work at the office, or work from home, watch for these signs of hearing loss at work:
- Trouble hearing during meetings at work, or whenever more than one person is speaking.
- Struggling to follow conversations on the jobsite when there’s background noise.
- Often misunderstanding what’s being said in online meetings, and asking people to repeat a word or sentence.
- Feeling unable to contribute to group meetings because you can’t keep up with what’s being said.
- Noticing a change in how well you’re able to perform your job.
If you recognize any of these signs of hearing loss in yourself or in a coworker, the first step is to schedule a hearing test, and find hearing aids that will help you overcome this hearing loss at work. Untreated hearing loss will only get worse with time, and ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.
Celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month with a Hearing Test
Make sure you’re able to communicate at work and at home by scheduling a hearing test today! We’ll find out exactly what sounds you’re missing, and suggest the hearing aids that will help you hear clearly in every situation. This May, talk to your coworkers and friends about hearing loss, raise awareness about hearing loss at work, and encourage others to test their hearing. Celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month with a comprehensive hearing test, and get back to hearing all the sounds around you.