People with hearing loss may have difficulty working because they may miss important information, feel isolated from their colleagues, and be at risk of injury. Employers can help them, but their assistance may only sometimes be enough.
If you’re experiencing hearing loss and desire to navigate your work life independently while achieving professional success despite this obstacle, consider familiarizing yourself with the coping strategies listed below.
Let Your Co-Workers And Bosses Know
Let everyone know you have hearing loss. If you don’t, your co-workers and bosses might be confused by your behavior. It’s okay to ask them to adjust for you, but don’t force them. However, if you need help or accommodation, communicate them clearly.
Remember, even though your employer has a legal obligation to accommodate your needs, you need to be independent of what they can provide. This is primarily your problem. If they do adjust, be grateful.
However, if your employer intentionally neglects their legal duties with people with disabilities, you may want to look into legal claims.
Talk To Your HR Department
Familiarize yourself with and get to know the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It’s a civil rights law that protects people with disabilities against exploitation and discrimination in the workplace and other places.
There are other laws that cover your affliction, so you must research them as well. Doing so can help you understand your rights and how to defend yourself if someone tries to exploit you or do you no good.
Also, let HR know about your condition. They might be able to think of ways to accommodate people with disabilities like yours. They might even be able to tell you about existing accommodations that you can use.
Utilize Assistive Listening Devices
The first thing you should do to cope with hearing loss is to get assistive listening devices. Many different types are available, so you can find the type that fits your needs and budget. Some popular options include hearing aids, cochlear implants, FM systems, and custom moulded earplugs.
Also, get used to using assistive listening devices. It may take some time to adjust to wearing and using them, but stick with them, as they can make a big difference in your ability to hear and communicate.
Moreover, learn how to care for these assistive listening devices. Don’t forget that they can be delicate and expensive, so you should know how to care for them properly and make the most of their lifespan. A few of the things you can do is to clean them regularly and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Optimize Your Workspace
Wearing an assistive listening device won’t restore your hearing to normal, but it can help you hear things. However, these devices can pick up interference from other electronic devices, which can cause unpleasant noises.
Because of this, you need to be mindful of your workspace and make an effort to optimize it for your hearing needs. For example, minimize the background noise and distractions in your area. You can also move to a location in your workplace where wireless signals are low to prevent your assistive listening device from picking up interference.
Establish Communication Strategies
As your hearing becomes unreliable, you should find other ways to communicate. You can use email, text, or other electronic forms of communication to converse with your co-workers.
On the other hand, try to face them directly and listen intently when you’re talking to them in person. If you’re having trouble hearing them, you can politely ask them to speak more clearly. You can also use visual cues and lip reading to help you understand what they’re saying.
Take Care Of Your Emotional Well-Being
Suffering from hearing loss can be really tough. It can take a while to adjust to the changes that come with this disability, even if you’re using assistive hearing devices. Also, consider habilitation if your hearing loss is because of an inborn impairment.
Remember that it can also affect your relationships with your co-workers. If the stress of dealing with hearing loss is getting to you, don’t hesitate to seek support from a counselor or support group. You can’t have a successful career if you carry a lot of emotional baggage.
In addition, make sure to practice self-care techniques. Be mindful of your surroundings and manage your stress levels. And despite the disability, learn to cope and have a positive mindset in your work environment.
These steps can help make your work life easier and ensure your hearing loss doesn’t hinder your career success. Stay positive despite the challenges, and don’t hesitate to ask for help when needed.