Listening Up in a Down Economy: Better Hearing Institute Launches Public Service Campaign for Better Hearing and Speech Month
Washington, DC, April 15, 2009 – The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) launched today a public service campaign for Better Hearing and Speech Month: Listening Up in a Down Economy. The campaign focuses on how hearing health affects job security, performance, and employment opportunities. BHI is encouraging people of all ages who are either seeking employment or who want to protect their jobs to make sure that unaddressed hearing loss does not pose a barrier to employment success. BHI is offering an online hearing test (www.hearingcheck.org) where people can quickly and confidentially assess if they need a comprehensive hearing check by a hearing professional.
"Treating hearing loss early is no longer an option," says Sergei Kochkin, PhD, Executive Director of BHI. "It is a career imperative. Great workplace communication is critical to both job performance and to getting a job. Great communication starts with great listening. And great listening starts with the ability to hear."
How an employee is perceived by employers is effected by how he or she hears. Job candidates need to sound sharp during an interview. And employees who aren't sure what an employer is asking can't answer their best.
According to the International Listening Association (ILA), listening is one of the top skills employers seek in entry-level employees and in those being promoted. Individual performance in an organization is found to be directly related to listening ability or perceived listening effectiveness.
According to Kochkin, to stay at the top of the game in these tough times, people should ask themselves these questions:
- When someone asks me a question, do I frequently have to ask them to repeat it?
- Do I ever have to strain to hear a question?
- Do I feel that people are mumbling a lot?
- If someone is not looking directly at me when they speak, does it make it harder for me to answer?
- Do I have trouble hearing over the telephone?
- Do people get annoyed because I misunderstand what they say?
People who answer yes to any of these questions may be having difficulty hearing, and it may be slowing them down in an already tough job market.
According to a BHI national study-"Impact of Hearing Loss on Household Income"-Americans with unaddressed hearing loss make less money than people with normal hearing. The study found that wearing a hearing aid reduces the amount of income lost. Specifically, untreated hearing loss negatively affects household income, on-average, by up to $23,000 per year depending on the degree of hearing loss. The use of hearing aids mitigates those negative effects by about 50 percent.
The ability to hear and listen well enables employees to be more productive. They are better able to understand the work that has been assigned and the expectations that have been set. And people who both hear and listen well are more likely to establish positive working relationships with bosses, clients, and colleagues.
Poor communication can result in unhappy customers, missed deadlines, poor morale among coworkers, and incorrectly completed assignments. Says Kochkin: "The bottom line? Good communication requires paying attention to what is being said and making sure you've understood what you heard. It starts with hearing your best."
"People are losing their hearing earlier and staying in the workforce longer," Kochkin adds. "Gone are the days when hearing aids were simply an option only for the elderly. In today's job market, hearing your best is essential for career success."
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Founded in 1973, The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) conducts research and engages in hearing health education with the goal of helping people with hearing loss to benefit from proper treatment. To receive a free copy of BHI's 28 page booklet "Your Guide to Better Hearing," visit its website at www.betterhearing.org or call the Better Hearing Institute hotline at 1-800-EAR-WELL.