Communicating with others in your workplace can be tough when you experience hearing loss. There are some things that you can do to make your day go smoother.
1. Understand Your Own Hearing Loss - Each person experiences hearing loss differently. It’s good to examine different situations that require you to listen. It’s also a good idea to discover which environments you find challenging and what changes you can make to ease your listening fatigue. Ask for help and request certain accommodations if necessary.
2. Get an Adequate Amount of Rest - Some people can hear better after getting some much needed R&R. If you have important discussions or meetings, it’s best to schedule them early. You’ll be well-rested and your brain and hearing should be functioning at their best. If this is impossible, schedule some time to rest before your important meeting to recharge your mind and body. You can simply walk around outside or even listen to a short meditation to clear your mind.
3. Advocate for Your Needs - Letting coworkers know about your hearing loss is a personal decision, but in many cases, it’s best to be open and honest about it. This makes things less awkward if you need help from others and explaining why you need help.
4. Tell Your Coworkers about the Best Ways to Communicate with You - Communication requires you and other people to interact with one another. You will need help from coworkers to help you efficiently perform your job. You can begin with a simple rule like, only allowing one person to speak at a time. This will make conversations easier to follow if you also rely on lip-reading and/or facial cues to understand what is being discussed. Make sure other people have your attention before talking to you and ask that they face you while clearly speaking. These tips will be helpful if you have a Zoom meeting or another form of video-conferencing call.
5. Use the Latest Technology - There are so many speech-to-text apps available. Currently, the most popular, and accurate, app for Android smartphones is LiveTranscribe. Nothing that is spoken into this app is recorded or saved. Otter, another speech-to-text app, can be used on multiple platforms. Users can save the conversation and create a transcript. Ask your boss if these apps can be used at your company before using them.
6. Be Precise About Your Suggestions - hearing loss is not an easily discernible disability, so most people won’t know that you need help if you don’t ask for help. Be up-front about it and be specific with your needs. Some people might yell because they think it helps you hear them or lean close to your ears, but this will cancel out the ability to lip-read and read facial cues. Describe or show them what you need if they do not understand.
7. Visual Cues - Rather than immediately asking someone to repeat themselves if you miss what was said, listen for a little longer to try and piece together what was stated by using the context you are in. You may also cup your hand behind your ear to indicate that you are having trouble hearing whoever is speaking. The speaker can talk louder without interfering with the flow of the discussion.
8. Diet, Exercise, and Keep Learning - Make sure that you get enough rest, have a healthy diet, and exercise. When you feel better and well-rested, you have more energy to listen. Listening fatigue is real! Knowing the context of a conversation is important, so keep up with current events so that it’s easier to follow along.
9. Accept Your Hearing Loss - This is difficult for many people. If you appear to be at ease about your hearing loss, the people who you interact with will also feel comfortable. Don’t be so hard on yourself if you miss what was said. If you begin to experience listening fatigue, pace yourself so that you have the energy to continue with other conversations. Sometimes what you mishear can be funny. Just go with the flow and laugh at yourself. This will make you, and others feel more relaxed, and maybe open up a dialogue about your personal experiences with hearing loss.
If you are struggling to hear at work, due to your hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing solutions for your individual hearing needs.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require new hearing aid fittings, repairs, and re-fittings. We ask that you please wait in your car, while wearing your mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. We will come to your car to get them. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.