Hearing loss can affect all age groups, but one age group in particular is more susceptible. Age related hearing loss (presbyacusis) affects many people in their mid life at a time when perhaps they are starting to look for retirement jobs. The type of hearing loss tends to take place gradually making it slightly harder to notice right away. If you suffer from age related hearing loss, this condition might have an impact on your work and on your chances to find a job in the over 50s sector, so it is important to have all the facts and to understand how you can improve your hearing and your chances of been happy at your job.
What Impact Does Hearing Loss Have On Your Work?
1. A difficulty in conducting telephone interviews – For many positions nowadays be it in the over 50s job market or in any other market, there are on average at least five other candidates being interviewed for the same job. Employers will often conduct a telephone interview at first to short list suitable candidates for a face-to-face interview. If you struggle to hear the person on the other side of the line you are handicapping your chances of going through to the next round of interviews.
2. Reduced self-confidence – Inability to hear the people around you and your co-workers in particular can lead to feelings of isolation which may lead to reduced self-confidence. This is especially damaging in managerial positions where your subordinates are looking for you to show confidence and lead.
3. Reduce productivity – Impaired communication and loss of self-confidence may lead to reduced productivity. A difficulty to hear instruction will also mean that you will not always perform what is required of you. Impaired communication can result in a difficult working environment, compromising productivity on a variety of levels depending on the position.
4. A stigma of been difficult – People who suffer from hearing loss without disclosing their condition or without taking steps to improve the situation might be seen difficult to work with by their co-workers or difficult manage by their managers.
Ways To Improve Your Hearing:
1. Be aware of your hearing ability – Age related hearing loss can happen gradually and the signs are subtle at first. A simple hearing test can help you gain an insight and provide a baseline to monitor over time.
2. Try to use other strategies for better hearing and listening as appropriate – Move closer and position yourself so that you are facing the talker; try to ensure that the speaker’s face is well lit and you can see it clearly. Watch the speaker’s face, lips, and gestures for clues to what’s being said. Don’t strain to hear every word. People with normal hearing miss words and ‘fill in’ from surrounding sentences.
3. Consider trying a hearing aid – It is another myth that hearing instruments are obvious and unattractive. While it’s true that hearing instruments don’t enjoy quite the fashion status of a pair of glasses, new technology has made these devices discreet. Many people can wear instruments that are either tucked well inside the ear or small behind-the-ear units that can be disguised by hairstyles.
4. ALDs (assistive listening device) – If you struggle most in a particular listening situation, find out about an assistive listening device specific for that situation. Examples are amplified mobiles or desk phones, TV listeners or even an amplified neckloop.
Melanie Lewis, RHAD, PCGE is a qualified Registered Hearing Aid Dispenser who worked for many years at H.S Audiological Centres before moving to head up www.hearingdirect.com audiology department in 2012.