Being hard of hearing is not as rare as you would think. About 9,000,000 people suffer from partial or full hearing loss in the United States.
Whether a person was born with a hearing loss or deaf; one day they will need to enter the workforce. There are things that employers and co-workers can do to help make the work environment more comfortable for people with hearing loss.
Whether you suffer from hearing loss yourself or if you work with someone who does, we have some tips and information about dealing with it in the workplace.
Keep reading to learn more about how to make the workplace conducive to those with hearing loss!
SUCCEEDING WITH HEARING LOSS IN THE WORKPLACE
Being someone with partial or full hearing loss can be hard in a regular workplace.
Not only is it harder to communicate with your peers and supervisors, but you could earn thousands of dollars less per year if you do not have corrective devices.
To remedy this, you could buy hearing aids to help improve your hearing. Hearing aids are available with a wide range of price points and features.
There are other ways to mitigate the cost of hearing aids as well. You could ask about a payment plan or a vocational rehabilitation program (if your doctor believes it would help). Some hearing aids are even covered in part by your insurance.
WHAT CAN CO-WORKERS DO TO HELP?
You don’t need to be the boss to get involved in helping hearing-impaired peers in the workplace. If you work with someone that is hard of hearing or deaf, there are ways that you can help impact your disabled coworker’s work life experience as well.
Many people who are hard of hearing use lipreading techniques to help them carry conversations with audio able people. To help your co-worker read your lips better, turn your face towards them and try to make sure your lips are visible.
If the co-worker is hard of hearing, do not yell at them thinking that will help them hear you. Instead, enunciate your words and recap the main points of the conversation.
Even if you are not speaking to the person who has hearing problems, you can take steps to make sure you are not making their job harder. Try not to make too many extraneous sounds or speak in a loud voice to others near the desk of someone who is hard of hearing. Being too loud could prevent that person from being able to hear something important.
WHAT CAN EMPLOYERS DO TO HELP?
The first things to know are the laws put in place by the American’s with Disabilities Act which would apply to your company. Disabilities like hearing loss have specific laws which protect a person from discrimination in the workplace.
You could also be proactive with a person joining the company with hearing loss. Suggest that you both write a memo or email to the rest of the company explaining the nature of their disability and how to communicate with them so there is no awkwardness later.
Whenever possible, you should also give the employee with hearing loss a quieter place to work like an office with a door.
WE CAN HELP TOO!
This is a small sampling of the things you can do to help make the workplace environment more inviting for a person who suffers from hearing loss. It’s a disability that’s quite simple to work with once you know what works for the company and the employee.
If you have any other questions about hearing loss in the workplace or if you have questions about hearing aids contact us today!