Hearing loss can have an impact in the workplace

There is a lot of evidence out there to remind us to stay active, moving and socializing. Physical fitness immediately comes to mind when we think of staying active, but staying mentally active is also equally as important, if not more so for long-term health benefits. It has been shown by researchers who study longevity that keeping connected to one’s family, home or work community is crucial to long-term mental health and can help us avoid a myriad of health issues such as dementia, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. There is now evidence that links hearing loss with the above mentioned chronic conditions.

Nothing interferes with staying close to family, friends or co-workers more than hearing loss. It is worth noting that 65 percent of people who have a hearing loss are below retirement age. This has a significant impact in the workplace. A recent survey notes that middle-aged (45-64) participants who had a hearing loss but no treatment (no hearing aids) felt that they were being passed over for promotion much more often than their normal hearing counterparts, or their counterparts who had hearing loss but wore hearing aids.

The study also found that those with unaided hearing loss were unemployed at a higher rate than their aided peers. Middle-aged to older working people with untreated hearing loss are also found to be three times more likely to fall at work as their normal hearing peers.

When a hearing loss affects one at work, there is usually little sympathy among co-workers and supervisors. One reason may be that hearing loss is invisible. There is no outside visual evidence of a hearing loss. Therefore, many suspect the hearing-impaired person of not paying attention, or worse, ignoring their co-workers or supervisor.

Having a hearing problem can be very hard to self-identify in the beginning stages because our brain so easily adapts and compensates for hearing loss. Our brain works hard to find the right words that make sense, compare what a colleague says to what they have said before, and uses other means to help us make sense of a conversation.

If you find you are having more trouble lately hearing what your co-worker or supervisor is saying, or if you find yourself exhausted at the end of the day from trying to hear at work, it is time to get a hearing test. Some physicians’ offices will screen hearing and send you on for a comprehensive hearing evaluation if it shows a problem.

The most important thing to remember is that a hearing loss does not usually go away. The faster it is treated, the more natural one’s hearing will be both at work and at home. Don’t let hearing loss keep you from being your best at home, work or in your community. If you are interested in learning more about hearing or are interested in a free hearing test contact Hidden Hearing online or Freephone 1800 370 000.

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