If you’ve been wearing hearing aids for a while, you’re
Working with Hearing Loss
There's no doubt about it; working with hearing loss can present some serious challenges. But armed with these tips and a positive outlook, there is no reason that you can't thrive in your chosen career. Read on to find out more about your rights and how to put your best foot forward in the workplace.
Inform yourself about your rights.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), your employer is required to make reasonable accommodations to ensure people with hearing loss can succeed on the job. It is also against the law for them to discriminate against you based on your level of hearing. Whether you need assistive technology, work area adjustments, or a sign language interpreter, you must take the first step and ask. In many instances, your employer is required to provide the accommodations you need.
Handle Zoom meetings better
If you have hearing loss, you'll know how tricky video meetings can be. Here are a few suggestions for improving understanding during virtual meetings.
Control your noise environment before the meeting. Find a space that is quiet and well-lit. When you have an important video conference meeting to attend, get your children to turn off their video games, live group calls, and movie watching. This will ensure a strong internet connection
Also, request that your manager sets a few ground rules for all participants. There are some of them
- Get everyone on camera. Make it mandatory for anyone who attends the virtual meeting to reveal their faces. It's tempting to hide the camera or set your computer or mobile device to "audio only," but this makes it impossible for others to follow along.
- Begin with introductions. If everybody knows each other well, this is a good time for attendees to adjust the audio on their computer or mobile device and their hearing aids before the meeting begins.
- Make a written agenda for the meeting. It will keep everyone on track during audio mishaps. When discussing a particular document, make participants share their screens.
- Take it in turns to chat. Some video conferencing applications make it possible for many people to converse at the same time. If this isn't the case, get everyone to refrain from interrupting anyone. When you're not speaking, click the mute icon to keep butt-ins to a minimum.
- Record the meeting. This means you can come back to the discussion at a later time to clarify things
If you're still having trouble, consider investing in some noise-canceling earbuds or high-quality headphones. Without turning up the volume, they'll make it easier to hear
If you have hearing aids, see if they can be connected via Bluetooth to your computer or mobile device to improve sound quality. The sound quality with an external microphone is always superior to that of a computer-based microphone and speaker system.
Don't pretend to understand others
Listening all day in the workplace to many different types of communications can be very taxing if you have hearing loss. The effort of listening or having to ask people to repeat themselves may wear you out, and you may sometimes pretend as though you have heard and understood something, even if you haven't.
But keep in mind that making an effort to understand your coworkers is vital to your success on the job. Instead of nodding along when you are lost in a conversation, ask the speaker (politely) to stop and paraphrase what they have just said. If you are talking in a noisy place, ask to relocate the conversation to a quieter area.
Let your coworkers know the best way to help you
Chances are, your coworkers would like to learn more about your hearing loss and the best ways to help you understand them. They probably have little knowledge of the communication strategies that would be most effective, though, and this is where you can step in.
Ask them to speak to you while facing you in a well-lit place. You can also suggest that they tap you on the shoulder to get your attention before speaking to you and communicating via text message or email in situations where you feel it is necessary.
In short, don't be afraid to talk to your coworkers about your communication needs–it will help things to run more smoothly for everyone involved.
Don't underestimate the power of hearing aids
People hesitate when thinking about hearing aids for several reasons, including not wanting their hearing loss to be conspicuous and doubting their efficiency. But the truth is these devices have the power to significantly increase your chances of success in the workplace if you have a hearing loss.
If you experience a hearing loss and have not yet sought treatment, contact us today! There's no reason to live – or work – with untreated hearing loss! A simple hearing test and hearing aid fitting will make all the difference in the workplace.