Hearing loss can pose a challenge for communication in any environment, but the effects on workplace performance can be particularly challenging. When we struggle to hear in a conversation with family, friends, or community members, it can cause frustration, embarrassment, and anxiety, indeed. However, communication issues at work can cause performance issues and even safety concerns. The good news is that employers are required to provide you with accommodations for your hearing needs, particularly if you have hearing impairment that gets in the way of performing your job effectively. The types of accommodations that are appropriate for you will differ depending on the nature and severity of your hearing loss. Let’s take a closer look at the ways that hearing loss can be an issue for your workplace performance, as well as a few accommodation strategies that you might find helpful. With these tips in mind, you should have no problem at all getting connected with a workplace environment that meets your hearing needs.
Hearing Loss in the Workplace
You might be surprised how many different jobs can be affected by hearing loss. Certainly, those that put customer and coworker communication front and center can be some of the most difficult to navigate. If you work as a receptionist, in customer relations, or in sales, you likely spend a good part of your day communicating with others. Workers in the service sector tend to have communication-centered jobs, as well. How about those who work away from the public and who seldom need to have conversations at work? Even these occupations can require communication with supervisors, coworkers, and teammates to make the working day proceed easily. Working in a factory, industrial, or other hands-on job will still require you to understand directions from a supervisor, to coordinate activities with other workers, and to serve as part of the alert system with your coworkers should an emergency arise. Particularly in the case of an emergency, untreated hearing loss at work can be a danger to yourself and others. For these reasons, as well as workplace efficiency and productivity, it is crucial not to put off getting treatment for hearing loss and pursuing all the accommodations you need.
Workplace Accommodations for Hearing Loss
Depending on the nature and severity of your hearing loss, you might need to get help making communication safe and effective at work. As we know, professional treatment for hearing loss is the best and most durable approach to your communication needs at work. In addition to getting individualized treatment for your hearing needs, you might want to employ other communication habits at work. Asking for verbal communication to be repeated in writing is always helpful, particularly for those who have a lot of in-person meetings. With the possibility that you might have missed an important piece of information, this kind of post-meeting memo can be incredibly helpful for your workflow, and others are likely to appreciate that gesture, as well. If you attend a meeting where the presenter is using slides or other notes to guide the flow of information, you can ask that person to share those written notes, as well. If you find that background noise is making it difficult to have conversations at your workstation or office, you can request to move to a quieter location. Reducing background noise is a great way to improve your communication ability. If you need more advanced accommodations for hearing loss or impairment, you can begin the conversation with your manager or the human resources specialist. In addition to assistive listening devices, they may have creative ideas to help you continue your work productively and effectively, while also making your life at work more enjoyable and reducing stress. With the concerns for your own and others’ safety in mind, it is essential to get assistance with workplace communication as soon as possible. Feel free to contact our offices for more ideas about workplace assistance as well as to schedule a hearing test. Getting treatment for hearing loss is the best way to improve your communication at work, and hearing aids can help you perform at your best, no matter your line of work.