Although less than 1% of the population is born with hearing loss, 15% of Americans aged 18 years of age or older have some hearing challenges. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) projects the number of people worldwide who are affected by chronic hearing loss will almost double and reach 900 million by 2050.
It can be challenging to adjust if you lose your hearing, but it does not mean you cannot have a thriving career. People with hearing loss have become successful musicians, authors, actors, athletes, and inventors. Utilizing technology to compensate for your impaired hearing can enable you to have a thriving entrepreneurial career. You may even be inspired by your hearing issues and develop a new product or business model that meets the needs of others with hearing issues. Here are a few ways to succeed as an entrepreneur with hearing challenges.
Many people experience hearing loss due to illness or accidents. It’s also possible to damage your hearing if you are exposed to loud sounds. Prolonged or repeated exposure to loud noises can cause irreversible damage to your eardrum or ear canal.
If you’re having difficulty understanding what others are saying or find yourself avoiding phone calls because you can’t hear clearly, you may have a hearing issue and should make an appointment to see an audiologist. Audiologists are medical doctors who specialize in treating hearing and balance issues. An audiologist can test your hearing to confirm whether or not you have need additional hearing care. They can also identify the cause of your issues and present you with treatment options.
In some cases, surgery to insert tubes or a cochlear implant may restore your hearing. Your audiologist may also recommend hearing aids, help you understand what type of hearing aid is best for you, and perform a hearing aid fitting. Audiologists will ensure your hearing aids work correctly and that you know how to care for them. They will also teach you how to prevent further hearing impairment.
Individuals who are deaf or had hearing loss can use TeleTYpe (TTY) to communicate by phone. TTY is a communication device that converts text to speech. Today, individuals with hearing issues can also use smartphones to communicate by text. Fortunately for entrepreneurs, P2P texting makes it simple to simultaneously contact multiple clients and use technology to promote products, events, or services. This is an effective communication system that reduces the need to repeat information multiple times and enables people to respond to you directly to request more information. P2P texting is popular with nonprofit agencies and political organizations, but also has applications that benefit other types of entrepreneurs and corporations.
Connect with other entrepreneurs, including entrepreneurs with hearing issues. Attend special conferences that feature entrepreneurs with hearing loss. You can also join the Hearing Loss Association of America or a similar organization near you. Interacting with others who live with hearing issues can be an excellent way to learn how to adjust your business operations to suit your personal needs. You may also learn about special programs, grants, or services available for entrepreneurs with impaired hearing.
People who have a sensory impairment are often forced to adapt to the world around them to fit in. Entrepreneurs and inventors can make a significant impact by developing ways to modify the world to suit the needs of those with trouble hearing. For example, you may be inspired to develop new products for people who have hearing issues. Vibrating and flashing alarms are examples of how existing products have been modified to serve the needs of people who have hearing issues. Think about ways businesses could improve their services to people with sensory issues and adapt your business to address their unique needs.
There are special programs and courses designed for entrepreneurs with trouble hearing. Attending these programs can be an effective way of increasing your understanding of your condition and how hearing loss affects others. You may also learn new ways to conduct business that is ideally suited for your needs.
You may also opt to learn sign language. In addition to American Sign Language (ASL), there are dozens of other sign language alphabets worldwide, including British Sign Language (BSL), French Sign Language (LSF), and Chinese Sign Language (CSL). Learning sign language and different sign language alphabets may enable you to expand your business globally and increase your clientele because of your ability to communicate with people with hearing loss from around the world.