Hearing loss can make navigating the workplace a little difficult, but with technology and a positive attitude, you can make it a stress-free experience. At Hearing Health, we take the time to go through what you can expect working with hearing loss. We will take all the time that is needed to make sure your questions are answered and your fears reduced.
Discrimination because of hearing loss is illegal
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects you in the workplace. Employers are expected to make reasonable accommodations to keep you employed and productive. There are different hearing devices that can make your job easier and we can help you with that. If you have legal questions, about your rights and the rights of your employer check here: https://www.eeoc.gov/
Honesty goes a long way
Tell your employer about your hearing issues using a positive attitude and some suggestions to help you in the workplace. For instance, if you work at a service station and do car repairs – suggest a flashing light to alert you when the garage door goes up instead of an alarm tone. Maybe the volume on your phone needs to be adjusted up or you need a headset to reduce the interference from outside office noise.
And don’t be shy about getting support from your co-workers. If they need to face you when they are talking and speak a little slower – tell them! That’s an easy enough fix and certainly not a hardship. If you are self-conscious about describing your hearing issues, practice on a supportive friend.
Educate your co-workers about your hearing issues so they use the best form of communication – it saves their time not having to repeat instructions or materials if they know how to present it correctly in the first place.
Get it in writing
E-mail is a great thing! Instead of getting verbal instructions or information, ask for it in an e-mail. Get meeting agendas written out and if need be, see if a notetaker is necessary for long meetings and conference sessions.
There are computer-assisted transcription services that show what is being said on a screen. You can utilize your Facetime function on an i-phone, i-pad or laptop if watching someone while they are speaking helps you. Co-workers can use e-mail or texting if that makes communication easier.
For conferences, ask that they be held in a room or confined area so outside interference noise is reduced. Talk to whoever is moderating/leading the meeting so they keep people on track when speaking and they aren’t speaking over each other. Sometimes something as simple as a round table so everyone is facing each other will help you out.
Use technology to your advantage
There are some great advances in hearing aids and our competent and professional staff can help you out with that. Hearing aids can sync with your phone. There are directional microphones and lapel microphones to help out if you need a hearing assist in a large group discussion or at a presentation in a large area. Remember, there are also computer transcription services so you can get a transcript of a presentation, the presenter may do podcasts and that’s an option, too.
If you work in a warehouse and there is a need to be alert to moving equipment, there are vibrating bracelets that go of if something is coming too close to you. Flashing lights can alert you if you are being paged or if someone is trying to get your attention.
Some simple fixes
If you need to have your desk moved because it is right by a door and a noisy corridor, that’s an easy fix. If you are near a copy machine or the office printer and the noises disrupt your concentration and you can’t adjust your hearing aids, ask to be moved. Sometimes just changing the direction your desk if facing will be enough of a change. If helping out during the lunch hour or during breaks at the receptionist desk isn’t working because its too noisy of an environment – offer to do something else. Volunteering to handle a substitute task shows you are a team player.
Visit Us at Hearing Heath
At Hearing Health, we have helped customers treat their hearing loss, and adjust to hearing aids both in and out of their workplaces. We can offer you the benefit of our experience – we’re just a phone call away!