If you have a hearing loss, the workplace can be a daunting experience. However, there are steps you can take to help improve your experience in the workplace.
Prepare yourself for meetings beforehand by requesting an agenda so that you’ll be ahead of the game and have notes and questions ready. If possible, request notes of the meeting afterward to make sure you didn’t miss any important details. It will also help you to review and follow up with any information you feel necessary to add or question. At the meeting itself, try and physically position yourself so that you can see the face of each person speaking.
Ask if meetings can be held at a round table if one is available so that you have a view of each person speaking. Let them know that taking turns speaking would help you follow and contribute better to discussions. Don’t be afraid to guide the conversation so that you are able to stay on valid talking points and participate easier.
If your cubicle or designated workplace is situated too close to a lot of foot traffic, by the reception area for example, or by the water cooler or a copy machine, ask to be relocated. This is one way you can lessen distracting background noise.
Roleplay with a friend or a coworker you are comfortable with. Be firm and polite when practicing questions to people such as:
“Please repeat at a slower what you have just said.”
“Can you paraphrase that?”
“Can you face me when speaking please as I would love to understand what you just said.”
Disclosure of your hearing impairment with a strategy for those around you to help communicate better is the most effective technique. Get the seat in the front row when attending a conference or workshop. If you can be confident letting others know how they can help before a full conversation even begins it will facilitate your interactions with them and others.
Techniques for Improving Communication
When dealing with specifics, write it down or put it in text format so that information can be confirmed. This is especially useful when it comes down to times, dates, and addresses. Use email and text whenever you feel it’s necessary to make sure you’ve got everything covered.
Interject politely in a conversation if people are speaking too fast and ask them to repeat or paraphrase for you to catch up. This way you can channel the flow of the conversation.
Request meetings or navigate workplace discussions in quiet environments so that you can get the most out of them. If you are requested to work in a loud environment with distracting sounds, in a capacity where you are less effective speak to those in charge of different duties that will better fit your skills.
Make Technology Work for You
Depending on your hearing needs there are many tools and devices at your disposal. There are directional microphones for meetings, video phones, hearing amplifiers, speech to text for your laptop and even loop inducted sound systems that can be installed in meeting rooms.
There are apps you can install on your phone to help you with your hearing devices that can be programmed specifically to your needs. Get an assessment by our team at All Ear Doctors and ask us about hearing solutions. These days, hearing technology is advanced and gets more sophisticated by the day. Our team can help you get fitted for what you require.
Inform Others of Your Experience
Take an active role in educating people in the workplace about hearing impairment issues so that everyone can be involved in facilitating communication. Let them know little things make all the difference to you such as being aware to face you when they speak so you can better read lips and body language.
Your Rights in the Workplace
Familiarize yourself with the American Disabilities Act. You have grounds to ask for provisions that would allow you to be effective in the workplace and have a work environment adjusted to accommodate your needs. This is based on the premise that it will benefit both you and your employer.
All Ear Doctors
All Ear Doctors is here to help you with any questions you may have. We understand the complexities of hearing impairment on a daily basis and look forward to setting up your first appointment for your hearing health. Whether it is you or someone close to you, we are ready to support your hearing needs for an effective and fuller hearing experience now.