The Women's Journal

Hearing & Listening… All In A Day’s Work

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By Barbara Madden , Au.D.


Now more than ever, Americans in the workforce and those with hopes of entering the job market understand the importance of improving their communication and listening skills.  Unemployment and under-employment are at all time high levels in the United States, and many people with aspirations of advancing their careers have undiagnosed and untreated hearing loss.

Great listening skills rely on the ability to communicate and hear.  Most employment situations require verbal communication in order to effectively engage in discussions, follow directions, collaborate on projects and deal with the public.  Hearing is critical for meaningful communication in the work force.  Effective hearing is also critical to insure safety on the job.

Our ability to hear and understand speech is complex and something that most of us take for granted, until things go wrong.  It’s difficult to imagine life today without smartphones, computers, satellite navigators and home entertainment centers.  Hearing loss often results in frustration when even the simplest tasks become challenging.

Hearing’s Impact on Employment

Hearing loss interferes with workplace tasks and daily activities as well as social engagements.  When untreated, hearing loss can result in negative cognitive effects such as diminished recall and comprehension, trouble concentrating and straining to hear words and processing instructions.  People may first recognize that they have difficulty hearing when they go for a job interview or are given increased responsibilities in the workplace.  Recent reports conclude that unaddressed hearing loss can pose significant barriers to job performance, productivity, compensation, promotion and career success.

Another concern is under-employment.  Untreated hearing loss may result in unacceptable mistakes on the job, higher rates of unemployment and an overall reduction in quality of life.   Additional effects such as increased anxiety, depression, fatigue, social isolation, paranoia, emotional instability and poor cognitive functioning may negatively impact job performance.

Many individuals delay hearing loss treatment for various reasons: Fear of age discrimination, negative stigma on the job and lack of knowledge about the diagnostic process and varied treatment options can result in this delay.  Although hearing instruments cannot cure a hearing loss or restore normal hearing, they can significantly aid in the ability to understand what others are saying and and to help people function more fully in daily communication situations.  Hearing aids can improve communication ability in meetings, on the telephone and in general conversation.

Improve Your Quality of Life

Once treated with an appropriate hearing solution, there are many unexpected but very pleasing results.  For example, people report better relationships with family members and co-workers, improved self-esteem, greater independence and feelings of security.  In fact, successful hearing aid users are more likely to socialize, to participate in stimulating activities and to join in group conversations and meetings.  The use of hearing aids can dramatically improve an individual’s ability to function effectively in the workplace.

The evidence is clear that an increasing number of Americans are suffering from hearing loss at younger ages, many years before retirement.  Even mild hearing loss interferes with daily activities, work responsibilities and social engagements.  Fortunately, those who acknowledge their hearing loss and use hearing aids effectively experience satisfying improvements in their quality of life and improved relationships with family, friends and co-workers.

Remember, great listening starts with better hearing!

For more information or to schedule an evaluation or treatment, contact the Audiology Department at Riddle Hospital.

Barbara J. Madden, Au.D., Doctor of Audiology/Director

Catherine M. Marino, Au.D., Doctor of Audiology

Denise E. Stewart, M.S., Clinical Audiologist

Lisa C. Mackenzie, M.S., Clinical Audiologist


RIDDLE HOSPITAL Audiology & Hearing Aid Center

1118 West Baltimore Pike, Suite 207

Media, PA 19063

(484) 227-3200-phone      (484) 227-3265-fax