With over 48 million Americans reporting some degree of hearing loss, it makes sense that some of those people find themselves needing to navigate their hearing loss in the workplace.
If you think that you may have hearing loss and aren’t sure what you should do next to ensure that your work isn’t negatively impacted, don’t worry. Our hearing specialists at Hearing Associates of Las Vegas are here to help you discover what you need to do to successfully navigate your hearing loss in your workplace.
Address Hearing Loss Quickly To Lessen Workplace Impact
Hearing loss usually happens over a long period of time, and most people can acclimate to a minimal amount of hearing loss relatively easily. However, if your hearing loss has become noticeable enough for you to recognize it, then it’s time to take action. Because, the sooner you address your hearing loss, the less likely it is to impact you and your work.
Once you are committed to dealing with your hearing loss, here are the steps you should take:
- Have your hearing tested – You may have had hearing screenings in the past, but those simple hearing tests are not enough to measure hearing loss. By visiting one of our hearing clinics, you can have a complete hearing evaluation. This evaluation will be able to specifically pinpoint your type of hearing loss, how you are being affected, and what needs to be done to correct it.
- Be fitted for hearing aids – When our hearing specialists have determined your hearing loss needs, the next step is to be fitted for hearing aids. With hearing aids, you will be better armed to hear what you need in your workplace. Also, you don’t have to worry that you will be stuck with a bulky set of hearing aids. There are many styles of hearing aids, so you can work with one of our specialists to find the right ones for your needs.
- Discuss if hearing rehabilitation is needed – Sometimes, it can be difficult to become used to hearing so well with hearing aids. Our hearing specialists can assist with hearing rehabilitation and work with you on workplace hearing strategies tailored to your needs.
After you have tackled your hearing loss and have the management tools that you need to help correct your hearing, the next thing you need to do is address your hearing loss at your workplace.
Talk To Your Boss And Co-Workers About Your Hearing Loss
It can be difficult to open up about your hearing loss at your place of work since for most people, hearing loss is a very private issue. However, it is essential that you talk with those in your workplace who need to know. Because, while hearing aids can help you regain a certain amount of your hearing, you will likely still need workplace accommodations to make up for your hearing loss.
The range of people who need to know about your hearing loss may vary depending on your workplace, but individuals like:
- Your employer
- Direct supervisor
- Human resources
- Close colleagues and team members
These people need to know about your hearing loss and what you need from them. In the case of your bosses, when they understand that you have hearing loss, they won’t automatically assume that you are ignoring them if you didn’t hear their verbal instructions.
As for your co-workers, having them understand your difficulty with hearing can help them be open to strategics with you. With your co-workers’ cooperation and understanding, it can go a long way in making your workplace more comfortable for you.
Also, by disclosing your hearing loss to your employer, you will be able to be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA provides you with protection against discrimination and also ensures that your employer provides you with reasonable accommodations to assist with your hearing loss at work. As you advocate for yourself at your work, you can also provide your co-workers and employer with effective strategies to make navigating your hearing loss at work easier on everyone.
Implement Strategies To Make Navigating Hearing Loss Easier
Depending on your workplace, there are various strategies you may want to implement to help you navigate your hearing loss successfully. To help get your creative engine going, here are some strategies which may help you.
Create An Effective Routine
Even in the most chaotic-seeming jobs, there are ways to develop routines. With a steady routine, you can increase your efficiency so that your hearing loss doesn’t impact your work negatively. Some of the things you can as you develop an effective routine at work are:
- Develop a consistent work environment that will help you concentrate.
- Create a schedule where you can perform similar tasks in the same general order every day.
- Coordinate team meetings to occur as regularly as possible, keeping the time, place, and day of the week the same.
Organize Your Work
As you develop your routine, organizing your personal workload is a natural next step. The more organized and prepared you are when it comes to your work, the less likely that your hearing loss can impact what you are engaged in doing.
Being organized may look like taking copious notes at meetings and asking for confirmation on key discussion points. You may also want to ask for project instructions to be delivered in written form to help ensure that nothing is missed.
Utilize Hearing Accessories
There are a number of hearing accessories which can be paired with your hearing aids to improve your ability to succeed at work. Things like a phone with a telecoil which can pair with your telecoil-enabled hearing aids can help you capture more of your phone calls with clients and co-workers. Or helpful tools like a meeting microphone, which can assist with capturing a group’s discussion more clearly.
Also, as the ADA requires that employers make reasonable accommodations, don’t feel like you have to provide all the solutions. Be sure to coordinate with the appropriate people at your work to ensure you have what you need to do your job properly.
Don’t Ignore Your Hearing Loss
More than anything, don’t just pretend that everything is fine. Your co-workers and employer can’t help you if they don’t know there is anything amiss, and it can seriously impact your work evaluations if they don’t understand that your hearing loss requires certain accommodations.
You are your own best advocate at work, and you understand what level of impact your hearing loss has on your work. So, do your best to open the conversation with those you need to interact with at work and don’t let your hearing loss negatively influence your work.
If you are ready to tackle your hearing loss and keep it from being an issue at your workplace, contact us to start working with one of our hearing specialists today!