The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) reports that of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, nearly 60% are in the workplace or an educational setting. While these can be challenging settings for a person with a hearing impairment, with the proper accommodations, you can be just as productive and efficient as your colleagues with normal hearing.
Below we’ve compiled some tips to help you overcome hearing loss in the workplace.
Know Your Resources
There are many resources for people with hearing loss in the workforce. The Americans with Disabilities Act ensures that employers in the U.S. provide equal opportunity workplaces for everyone, including those with hearing loss. This means they must provide reasonable accommodations for employees with hearing loss to do their jobs.
The HLAA has resources for employees with hearing loss, including a thorough employment toolkit that covers a plethora of issues an employee with hearing loss may face. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission also has a detailed guide on deafness and hearing impairment in the workplace.
Invest in the Right Technology
If you haven’t yet been fit with hearing devices, we recommend talking to an audiologist right away. Treating your hearing loss with hearing aids has been shown to increase your earning power and reduce risk of unemployment. Today’s hearing devices have features that can provide you with a much-needed boost at your job, such as:
- A tele-coil, which is compatible with assistive listening devices like FM systems. These can help you better hear the speaker at a meeting or conference.
- Bluetooth compatibility, which can connect your hearing aids to other devices like your computer, so you can use them as a wireless headset.
Assistive listening devices can also make a big impact, like captioned telephones and directional microphones.
Advocate for Yourself
Whatever your communication needs are, make sure you communicate them to your manager and your colleagues. If you have a difficult time concentrating when background noise is present, ask to be moved to a quiet workspace. If you’re working virtually and having difficulty with phone calls, request to do video calls instead so you can pay attention to visual cues.
For more information about options for managing hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist, call Arizona Hearing Specialists today.