The Impact of Hearing Loss on Daily Life and the Workplace
Basic auditory abilities are a high priority as people go about their daily lives at home, the office, and in commercial or social contexts. Our sense of hearing enables us to identify, distinguish and react to relevant environmental stimuli, pinpoint the origin and direction of a sound, and most significantly, interpret and comprehend spoken language. That’s the reason why the impact of hearing loss is huge on daily life.
It’s true that an individual’s auditory capacity in the actual world is affected not just by his or her hearing abilities, but also by a variety of contextual factors, such as noisy environment, conflicting impulses, space acoustics, and situational awareness.
When a person with normal hearing participates in a discussion in a calm, well-lit environment, visual information from the subject’s face, combined with contextual signals and linguistic background, can make the conversation very simple and understandable. In comparison, it may be far harder to carry on a discussion or deliver and obtain information in a loud environment with low lighting and minimal visual clues.
In the first case scenario, a person with hearing impairment may be able to perform relatively well, while in the second, they may be unable to communicate at all.
The Impact of Hearing Loss on Personal Life
There’s no doubt that hearing loss can have a significant negative influence on one’s quality of life. And as hearing loss progresses, the impact becomes more noticeable in your daily life. Because some sounds are difficult to hear, most people begin by hearing others as though they are mumbling.
In such scenarios, it can be common for people with hearing loss to have to ask their conversation partner to repeat themselves, which can be inconvenient and frustrating for both parties. That might be because both of them start to limit the length and complexity of the discussion. At the same time, it grows increasingly difficult to hear others in the face of background noise as hearing loss severity increases.
The Emotional Consequences of Hearing Loss
Interpersonal communication, romantic relationships, opportunities for education, work possibilities, and financial independence can all be influenced by hearing loss. Hearing loss can have a wide range of emotional consequences.
Anxiety, rage, embarrassment, inadequacy, guilt, identity crisis, rejection, and loneliness can all result from it. In an effort to “cope” with their hearing loss and accompanying emotional suffering in social circumstances, people with hearing loss acquire both useful and harmful social behaviors. Avoiding different circumstances such as not visiting social events or remaining purposely distanced in a group setting are examples of that.
Hearing loss might hinder a person’s ability to socialize because of the communication breakdown that occurs frequently. As a result, untreated hearing loss can result in decreased group interaction, social alienation, poor self-esteem, loneliness and a decreased quality of life.
The Impact of Hearing Loss in the Workplace
Hearing loss can make it difficult for employees to follow directives from their manager or interact with coworkers and customers, which can make it difficult for them to complete work responsibilities properly. As a result, errors are possible. However, it isn’t only about communicating. An auditory alert is generally the first indication that something isn’t right in manufacturing locations or any job requiring heavy equipment, machine tools, or vehicles. Employees that are unable to hear caution sounds put themselves and others in danger.
The social side of hearing problems at work is a less evident but nonetheless a significant concern. Employees may feel isolated, discouraged, and sad if it is difficult for them to hear and engage in conversations with coworkers during lunchtime or on breaks. Their productivity and involvement may suffer as a result of this emotional consequence.
Hearing Loss and Productivity
When employees experience hearing loss, business performance may suffer as a result of misunderstanding caused by impaired hearing. Because instructions are misinterpreted or need to be repeated, tasks may take longer to perform. There’s also a chance that the employees will act disinterested when, in truth, he or she is having trouble hearing properly, if at all.
This can also make employees feel alienated as they struggle to engage with coworkers, which has a poor influence on teamwork and can contribute to weariness and distress. At the same time, untreated hearing loss is linked to higher likelihood of cognitive decline, which can be up to 5 times higher in situation of significant hearing impairment. In addition, individuals who have trouble hearing are twice more likely to be unemployed compared to those who can hear well.
Reducing Hearing Loss in Workplaces
It is required for employers to provide sufficient ear protection in the form of earplugs or ear protection in locations where employees are constantly subjected to decibel (dB) levels of 85 dB or higher.
Companies, on the other hand, can go above and beyond to actively limit the risk of noise-induced hearing problems. Here are a few other strategies to avoid hearing loss in workplaces:
- Provide proper training on how to use provided hearing protection
- Provide custom-fitted hearing protection solutions
- Choose low-noise equipment and machinery
- Ensure that the machinery is well-maintained and lubricated
- Sound walls or curtains can be used to provide a barrier between both the noise source and the personnel
- Set strict limits on how much time an individual can spend near a source of noise
- Use loud machinery during periods when there is less staff present.
- Provide a quiet room where employees may rest and recover away from the hustle and bustle of the office.
Hearing well should be a significant health and safety concern for all people. It is easy to underestimate the long-term impact that common sounds can have. To ensure your health and safety, make sure to contact our hearing professionals for further assistance.