Whether you’re working from home or in-person, hearing loss can make navigating the workplace a little tricky. Still, with technology and a positive attitude, you can make it a more stress-free experience. At Suncoast Audiology, we can go through what you can expect working with hearing loss. We will take all the time needed to make sure your questions are answered and your fears reduced.
Here are some ways you can help yourself when working with hearing loss.
Don’t forget your rights
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects you in the workplace. Employers are expected to make reasonable accommodations to keep you employed and productive. Different hearing devices can make your job easier, and we can help you with that too!
Advocate for yourself
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 with a supportive friend.
Educate your co-workers about your hearing issues so they use the best form of communication – it saves them time not having to repeat instructions or materials if they know how to present it correctly in the first place.
Ask for it in writing
Instead of getting verbal instructions or information, ask for it in an email. Get meeting agendas written out and if need be, see if a notetaker is necessary for long meetings and conference sessions.
Computer-assisted transcription services show what is being said on a screen, even during your Zoom calls.
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 to keep people on track when speaking. They aren’t speaking over each other. Sometimes something as simple as a round table, so everyone faces each other, will help you out.
Use hearing aid technology to your advantage
There are some significant 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 hearing assistance in an extensive group discussion or presentation in a large area.
If you work in a warehouse and need to be alert to moving equipment, there are vibrating bracelets that go off 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.
Other easy fixes
If you need to move your desk 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 is 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 it’s too noisy of an environment – offer to do something else. Volunteering to handle a substitute task shows you are a team player.
Hearing Loss Treatment
At our practice, we have helped customers treat their hearing loss and adjust to hearing aids in and out of their workplaces. We can offer you the benefit of our experience – we’re just a phone call away!