Work plays a significant role in your social status. A general sense of achievement and self-worth is felt in us when we work. Tinnitus Hub, a group of people with tinnitus who work for the tinnitus patient community, focus on patient support and education, promote research, and raise awareness, gathered data indicating that over a third (38 percent) of employees have expressed that their symptoms had a negative impact on their work.
This doesn’t just disrupt the workflow of the employee, but it can affect their income and the economy in general. Tinnitus Talk is a worldwide online community for tinnitus patients. Volunteers who run this organization are pushing to raise awareness so that it’s taken more seriously as a problem that can impact work environments.
Tinnitus Hub Statistics from 2018
A survey with 1,800 participants asked, “Has tinnitus affected your job or work prospects?”
Difficulty with Concentration
The main effect of tinnitus on the job is the inability to focus. There’s a spectrum of how patients with tinnitus struggle. According to the survey, tinnitus affected concentration mildly (41 percent), moderately (33 percent), or severely (20 percent). Only a small percentage reported a lack of problems with concentration.
This is significantly different from the “concentration/listening fatigue” that individuals with hearing loss may encounter. In some cases, their brain needs to make an extra effort to interpret what they heard. It’s due to constantly hearing the tinnitus in their head while refocusing it to the background in order to concentrate on something else.
Anyone who struggles with tinnitus can find coping mechanisms from sound machines or hearing aids, to meditation. Patients with severe forms of tinnitus generally experience anxiety and/or insomnia, which can affect their performance at work. Most people cannot grasp the daily stress of constantly hearing a high-pitched sound.
Difficult Work Environments
There are certain jobs that frequently expose people to loud noises that can damage hearing or induce tinnitus. These include construction, manufacturing, military service, and the music industry.
Low-level exposure to sounds on a regular basis for hours at a time, like in a call center, school, or restaurant can cause some harm to a person’s hearing health. Anyone with tinnitus may notice more sensitivity to sound (hyperacusis). As a result, normal office work environments can lead to ear pain or loud instances of tinnitus.
Commuting to work can be a struggle for someone with hyperacusis. Traffic noises can spike tinnitus symptoms.
Potential Negative Reactions from Employers and Coworkers
Many people with tinnitus have pointed out the ignorance of employers or colleagues, along with how unwilling they are to make changes that would benefit a person with tinnitus. Some are hesitant to reveal this information for fear of discrimination.
How to Help
Every employee should be accommodated. If the tinnitus is stress-induced, the anxiety tends to pass for most people. It can take weeks, months, or even years to obtain habituation. Others may turn to permanently adjust their situation by working a less demanding job.
If you’d like to consider using hearing aids to mask tinnitus symptoms, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.