Hearing loss can be quite a problem in your professional sector. It will shrink your ability to communicate effectively and in your natural reflex.
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, around 15% of the American population has varying degrees of hearing loss. Among them, 60% are associated with an educational setting or in a workplace.
Though hearing loss may demand a little bit of extra work, it is not something that you can conquer. With some small changes in the workplace, it is very much possible to create a helpful work environment for people with hearing difficulties.
Getting the necessary help and addressing the issue can be the first step of the long road to success. Working around the condition and implementing creative solutions can easily break the barrier in such situations.
Today, we will be talking about the difficulties faced in the workplace due to hearing loss and how you can overcome them. Keep reading to know the subtle details that can make your life easier.
Employment and Hearing Loss
The Americans with Disability Act legally makes employers obligated to present equal workplace opportunities even for people with hearing loss. Yet the statistics are not very much supporting; also scary at some points.
Adults with hearing disabilities are seen to have lower education, meager income, underemployed or unemployed quite often. They also suffer during career development and employment transition.
Untreated hearing loss can cost about thirty thousand dollars yearly to society. It also shows a higher unemployment rate. 15.6% of people with severe hearing loss struggle with employment, while 8.3% of people using hearing aids face such difficulties.
Hearing Loss at Work
It can be hard to disclose your disability to your workplace. However, it can make your life much easier once you uncover it.
Some people may feel reserved and move mountains to keep their condition under wraps. In contrast, some are open to discuss the issue in detail and propose other methods of communication for the ease of him and others around him.
Different people choose to handle their hearing loss differently; we are okay with all of them. However, the best course is to talk it out. Because one way or another, it will come to the surface. So rather than constantly putting off fires, it’s better to be honest, and find the optimum solution.
If you have an untreated hearing loss condition, the situation will get worse and worse. Moreover, some certain types of jobs can cause hearing loss. Soon, you will be excluded from the conversations. Your professional career will take a huge hit.
Also, losing hearing can highly impact your mental health. It can make you impatient and cause disturbances in your concentration. It will increase stress and eventually throw you into depression.
Early diagnosis and getting necessary help can prevent many severe consequences. For your physical and mental wellbeing, it is highly recommended to get check-up your hearing health checked periodically.
If you work in a place where noise is inevitable, consider seeing an ENT specialist twice a year.
As each person copes up with their hearing loss in various ways, the workplace accommodations should resonate with their needs. Regardless, the first step should be consulting with human resources and/or your supervisor.
The required adjustment can be but not limited to the following requests:
- Adjustment of your working environment: Describe what ideal place will increase your productivity and how the current situation is holding you back.
- Assistive listening system: Discuss what type of system would benefit you and your employer. You can offer price estimation and options to purchase the system from different outlets.
- Telephones: Regular telephones may not be convenient for you. In such cases, ask for a captioned telephone. Better yet, Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service. Once installed, there are loads of services available free of cost.
- Assignments: Many people with hearing loss can struggle with the full disclosure of the assignment. For such reasons, ask for written memos and summaries of discussion. It can be effective to understand the assignment and keep on the right track.
- Meetings: Most people with hearing difficulties struggle in this manner. You can ask for agendas before meetings and summarised notes after meetings.
- Emergency notification system: Emergency assistive technology should be in place to assist you in case of distress. Flashing lights, vibrating pagers can go a long way in this manner.
- In-service training: Each and every in-service training for requested adjustments should be covered before enrolling into service.
Hearing Aids at Work
For most people with mild to moderate hearing difficulties, hearing aids can be a great solution. Just like glasses, hearing aids require time to get adjusted. If you are having trouble adapting to your new workplace hearing, consult your audiologist.
Your audiologist can program your hearing aids to better adapt to your workplace conditions. Also, if you are on the fence about choosing an assistive listening system, your audiologist is the perfect person to suggest you.
Taking care of your hearing health is as essential as breathing. With proper care, it is possible to prevent your hearing from taking further hits. So, consider getting checked up today and take the necessary steps towards healing.