These days it is common for employers to encounter rapidly increasing rates of hearing loss inside the workplace especially where constant noise is present. Evidence shows that hearing has a significant impact on employees' productivity and hearing loss becomes more and more frequent. Therefore, it is vital for employers to consider strategies to magnify the benefits of treatment and hearing screening. Certain risk factors for hearing loss include ageing, workplace noise and chronic disease. The last of which has been connected to isolation at work, heart disease and diabetes.
It is imperative that employers in endangered working environments talk with their workers about hearing loss. They should be cautious for many reasons such as workplace productivity, overall health, employee job effectiveness and sociability. Good communication between employees, supervisors, co-workers and customers is essential for a successful business. Employees who have undamaged hearing are usually more efficient when interacting with customers and colleagues. In addition, they become aware more quickly of specific social situations and emergencies, and are able to react faster.
Trying to explain a compound task to an employee who only hears part of what is said is very difficult. This is usually the case employers face when trying to communicate with employees who are hard of hearing. This can lead to frustration for both parties; employees who cannot communicate effectively with managers and colleagues are more likely to retreat and isolate themselves which can lead to depression and absence. Closely related to job effectiveness is the ability of people to work and their work productivity in general. People who suffer from hearing loss can lose thousands of pounds in income annually, depending upon their degree of hearing impairment.
Suffering from hearing difficulties significantly affects quality of life, maintenance of autonomy, and involvement in productive activities. The use of hearing aids is essential for most hard of hearing people. Hearing aids however, do not solve all of the problems in the workplace that arise because of hearing loss. Beyond the obvious impact of hearing impairment on communication, potential consequences of unmanaged hearing loss include limitations of activities, interference with independent living, safety issues and task management. Depending on the severity of the condition and the possibilities for coping with it, job change may be necessary. That is why it is important to have the right medical diagnosis and to follow treatment advice.
Hard of hearing people are usually unaware of the role that occupational therapists and audiologists play in the assessment of the workplace environment. A lack of understanding of the needs of employees with hearing loss may result in workers acting alone in trying to access support and help. There is a pressing need for collaboration with hearing impaired employees to come up with new strategies for communication through estimation of hearing needs and adjustments in the workplace.
Improvements in attitude and work conditions as well as a consideration of the emotional and physical state of the sufferer have to be in place, in order for the person to feel valuable and functional in their working environment