Finding a good job and moving up the career ladder is a struggle almost all of us can relate to. Something that can make this struggle even more difficult is trying to climb the corporate ladder with untreated hearing loss. Hearing loss, whether it is mild or severe, can impact your career in several different ways, so treating it becomes important for both social and economic reasons.
The average employee with untreated hearing loss earns 11K less annually than their peer. People with severe untreated hearing loss have been found to earn an average of 31K less annually than their hearing colleagues. Over the course of several years, this can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost income, profoundly affecting both how you live and how you retire.
Once someone treats their hearing loss, whether with surgery or with hearing aids, this gap almost disappears. The proper use of hearing aids can put you back on a level playing field with your peers, both in your earning potential and in your career path.
People with hearing loss are protected by the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act. This act prevents people from discriminating against someone because of a disability, and protects employees from termination due to their disability. What falls into a grey area that may not be protected by the ADA is the ability to be promoted during your career. While people cannot discriminate against you because of hearing loss, they may fail to promote you if they do not see results that they consider necessary for promotion. Management positions might be challenging to get into if your company feels that you might not be able to communicate well with employees or other supervisors. You might even be hesitant to apply for promotions if you feel like untreated hearing loss is inhibiting you in your job.
Untreated hearing loss can do a number on your confidence. Especially in the workplace, you might feel hesitant about speaking up or calling attention to yourself. Asking people to repeat themselves in meetings can be mortifying, and not hearing things clearly is even worse. Missing key instructions is a real fear when you have untreated hearing loss and you might find yourself exhausted at the end of the day from how much effort it takes just to concentrate on hearing.
Work relationships can suffer when someone has untreated hearing loss, just like any other relationship. Your friendships with colleagues can become strained if they get frustrated by either your seeming inattention or by a constant request to repeat themselves. Employers might stop going to you with tasks if they feel like you are not listening or responding. Employees can feel slighted if they mistakenly feel like you are ignoring them, and resentment can grow. You might even find that you avoid interactions because your hearing loss makes them stressful.
Treating hearing loss
When all factors of untreated hearing loss are considered, from the personal toll to the career costs, hearing aids become increasingly important. Restoring as much of your hearing as possible can improve your quality of life both at home and in the workplace. When you factor in the all of the positives that hearing aids can create, from increasing your earning potential to improving work relationships to lessening your own anxiety, correcting your hearing with hearing aids is a must. If you have never had hearing aids before, look at our First Time Hearing Aid Buyer’s Guide and contact our office to meet with a hearing specialist. We can walk you through the process, from start to finish, and get you back on the right track, both personally and in your career!