Working With Hearing Loss
If you have hearing loss, you may face many challenges in the workplace. Research has shown that those with hearing loss earn less and get passed over for promotions more often than those with normal hearing. Trying to work when you have a hearing loss is a challenge. Phone conversations are difficult. Not being able to hear in the board room or during staff meetings can leave you out of the loop and cause you to miss out on important information. If you wear hearing instruments, you will certainly be able to hear better. Taking a few extra steps will help ensure you are hearing and working your best.
First, tell your boss and co-workers about your hearing loss. Let them know what your challenges are and how they can communicate with you to be most productive.
People with hearing loss tend to communicate better in person than over the phone. Let your colleagues know that when possible speaking face to face is better for you. Watching visual cues when having a conversation helps you better interpret what people are saying.
If people are trying to get your attention and you aren’t responding, ask them to walk into your line of sight. Being tapped on the back can be startling, but if someone walks toward you from the front, you can anticipate his or her arrival.
In meetings, ask others to face forward when talking, and not talk when their backs are turned, like when writing on a whiteboard or taking notes. When their backs are turned to you, his or her voice projects away from you, making it harder to understand what is being said.
Open office cubicles tend to be louder than closed office environments, and can put a strain on anyone’s listening skills, let alone someone with a hearing loss. If possible, ask to be put into an office with a closing door.
Talk to your colleagues and let them know your hearing loss can be frustrating for everyone, a little patience goes a long way in creating a happy, productive work environment. Visit your hearing professional on a regular basis to make sure you have the tools you need to hear your best.