06 November 2008

On the Job with Hearing Loss

Hearing loss presents problems in all areas of daily living and not least in the workplace. Social interaction with co-workers as well as self-esteem may be adversely affected.

Most adults devote a large part of their day to working and it is important that the working experience be positive. If you are hearing impaired you may have difficulty, as the workday presents a variety of added challenges because of your hearing loss.

At the most fundamental level, it may be difficult for you to participate in the daily banter and conversations with co-workers, meetings or phone conversations. You may have to focus extra hard at all times. Having to concentrate like this can be stressful and even exhausting.

You may exacerbate your problem if you neglect to make others aware of your hearing problem, so co-workers can be considerate and take the simplest steps to accommodate you. But some people find it hard to be open about a problem they fear may make them appear ?different' from everybody else.

The social repercussions of hearing loss may, in turn, affect your mental health and quality of life. Feelings of isolation and lower self-worth are common among hearing impaired working adults. Fatigue and other physical symptoms resulting from the extra demands at work often carry over into leisure time and home life.

A hearing aid is often the best response to these problems. A variety of studies have found that proper use of hearing aids result directly in improved quality of life. At the same time, the employer must take steps to create a more work-friendly environment for hearing impaired employees, and the individual hearing impaired employee must be open about the problems.

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