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Working with Hearing Loss

Hearing loss affects all areas of your life. You have a harder time connecting with loved ones, and all that straining to hear makes you tired. Hearing loss also creates challenges at work. If hearing loss is holding you back, start by treating your hearing loss with hearing aids! Then follow these helpful tips for working with hearing loss.

Understand Your Rights

First and foremost, it’s important to know your rights. The Americans with Disabilities Act mandates that employers can’t discriminate against employees based on a disability such as hearing loss. Your employer is also responsible for providing reasonable accommodations to help you do your best work. This could include providing speech-to-text technology, giving you a front row seat in meetings, or moving you to a quieter cubicle. 

Asking for Accommodations

Don’t be shy in asking for reasonable accommodations. Disclose your hearing loss to your employer and ask for their help getting accommodations. Some reasonable accommodations can include:

  • Asking to sit near the speaker during meetings or briefings
  • Asking for a written copy of the meeting agenda before the meeting so you can follow along without getting lost
  • Asking for a copy of the meeting minutes so you make sure you didn’t miss anything important
  • Asking for instructions in writing
  • Requesting that meetings be held at a round table where it’s easier to see each person speaking
  • Requesting that any background music is turned off, or that the door is closed to decrease background noise
  • Asking for speech-to-text technology so you can follow what’s being said

Arranging Your Workspace

Is your workspace less than ideal? Hearing loss doesn’t just make it hard to hear what you want to hear, it also makes background sounds seem a lot louder and more distracting. That’s because you’re missing a lot of sounds, and with all the gaps in hearing, your brain has a harder time distinguishing between sounds you want to hear and sounds you don’t.

Arrange your workspace to minimize distractions and be efficient on the job. For example, ask to move to a quieter spot in the office, away from the printer or photocopier, further away from the break room, and away from any noisy hallways. If all the background noise is making it hard to concentrate on your work, you can also wear noise cancelling earplugs. Blocking out that sound will let you focus on what’s in front of you without wasting energy tuning out the noise.

Using Technology

If you’re having a hard time working with hearing loss, take a moment to explore your technology options. There are a number of devices and programs designed to help you hear at work. For example, assistive listening devices have a mic you can place near whoever is speaking. The audio goes directly to your hearing aids or earbuds so you can hear loud and clear.

Other technologies include speech-to-text programs for your computer. These programs give you a real time transcription of everything being said in the room, and will display the text on your computer screen. If you have a hard time hearing on the phone, video calling or video-captioned telephones make it easy to see the person on the other end, and easily follow what’s being said. 

Large office buildings may also have loop systems, or you can request to have a loop system installed in meeting rooms. If your hearing aid has a T-coil, you can connect to the loop system and hear all the sound from the PA system right in your ears. 

Invest in Hearing Aids

Are you having a hard time keeping up at work? Hearing loss can make it difficult to pull your weight at work. Thankfully, modern hearing technology offers you great programs and features that will transform your work life. 

Today’s hearing devices are sleek and sophisticated, with all the power of a mini-computer. These devices will help you focus on sounds you want to hear, reduce background noise, and make speech sounds clearer. You can even enjoy connectivity features. Wirelessly connect your hearing aids to your phone or computer to hear all the audio right in your ears. 

Contact us today to learn more about how hearing loss treatment can help you on the job. 

Jon Suarez, MS, F/AAA
Jon Suarez, MS, F/AAA
Received his Masters in Audiology from Central Missouri State. He also holds a BS in Communication Disorders and Sciences, and a BA in Philosophy, both from SUNY Plattsburgh. Jon has been a licensed Audiologist since 2004, was certified as a Professional Supervisor for Audiometric Testing, and as an Occupational Hearing Conservationist. Aside from his work in our area, Jon is also associated with, and donates equipment to, All Ears International.
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