I’ve been thinking about the problem of hearing loss at work.
I recently helped a client (Peter M) with his hearing loss at our King’s Park hearing clinic. Peter is still in the workforce. Because of the difficulties he was having hearing his colleagues in the office, he was really struggling.
Here’s what he had to say after I fitted him with the latest hearing aid technology:
“I received my Starkey Livio 2000 Cros hearing aids several weeks ago. After more than 40 years of discomfort, I am at last able to sit in the passenger seat of a car and conduct a conversation without turning my head.
“As I’m profoundly deaf in my right ear (with tinnitus), this is no mean achievement, as it really does (almost) seem as if I’m hearing in that ear.
“In addition, as I work in an open-plan office, it has until now been very difficult to participate easily in conversations due to background noise.
“Well, no more! I can now very easily tune my new hearing aids by way of a mobile app for multiple scenarios. I also have my own settings to suit specific situations. I love the clarity of these hearing aids. They are comfortable for all-day wear – my day is usually 16 waking hours, so this is pretty important to me.”
I was really pleased to hear the difference these new hearing aids had made to Peter – especially at work. It made me think about research done by Access Economics in 2006 that showed the cost of hearing loss to the Australian economy.
The Listen Hear! Report found that productivity loss traced directly to hearing impairment accounted for well over half (57%) of the total financial costs incurred by Australian organisations – or some $6.7 billion a year.
The researchers reported that hearing loss represented a real financial cost to Australia of $11.75 billion per annum or 1.4% of GDP.
That’s a lot of money in anybody’s language!
With the government encouraging us to put off our retirement, coupled with the increasing chance of having hearing loss as we get older, it’s a perfect storm.
The real cost of hearing loss in the workplace
What’s really interesting, is that other reports have shown that people with hearing loss are more likely to be unemployed or earn less than others.
On a more personal front, hearing loss can make people feel isolated in the workplace. It’s more difficult to hear what people are saying at meetings. Perhaps opportunities are missed to contribute to a discussion because you haven’t heard part of the conversation.
As my client Peter pointed out, in an open-plan office (so common these days), background noise can be a real problem.
All this can lead to anxiety and a general feeling of being ‘left out’.
The time to act on your hearing loss is now!
Before hearing loss starts to affect your ability to do your job properly, I always recommend that you should be on the ‘front foot’. The first step is to have a simple hearing test.
Then you can discuss with your hearing care clinician what your options are should they find a significant hearing loss.
Don’t suffer more than you have to! At My Hearing, we’re here to help.
If you have any questions, please give us a call on 1300 970 558 to make an appointment – or book online.