5 Ways to Optimize the Value of Hearing Aids in the Workplace
One of the places where difficulty hearing can be the most problematic is in the workplace. Whether you misunderstand what your boss wants you to do or you have a coworker think you are giving him the cold shoulder, tensions can rise quickly. Of course, workplaces are often filled with background noise, and that can lead to issues in hearing even with the assistance of a hearing aid. With that in mind, here are 5 ways to optimize the benefits you get from your hearing aids at work.
#1 Let Your Coworkers Know About Your Hearing Problem
While it can be uncomfortable to reveal something that may be perceived as a weakness to coworkers, you can get a lot of benefit from being upfront about your hearing problem. People will stop assuming you heard them. You may find out some coworkers are dealing with the same problem. At the very least, others should be more understanding if you have to ask, “What?” every now and then.
#2 Keep Spare Batteries at the Office
You don’t want to run out of battery during a work day and struggle to make it through the last few hours. Most people can’t just leave work to grab replacement batteries. In fact, you may want to have the batteries in your pocket, briefcase, purse, wallet, or whatever you happen to carry on you. This will keep you from having to walk out of a meeting to get fresh batteries from your desk drawer.
#3 Maintain Line of Sight During Meetings
You probably don’t realize how much you’ve started to depend on reading lips. If you can sit somewhere that will give you a direct line of sight to the speaker during meetings, you’ll probably piece together what is being said, even if you miss a word here and there. You can also get cues from a speaker’s body language.
#4 Use Available Hearing Aid Accessories
Some types of hearing aids can be wirelessly paired with a microphone to help you pick up speech directly. If your coworkers know about your struggle, they may be willing to wear the microphone when conducting a meeting or even when speaking with you one-on-one. You may also be able to pair your hearing aid with a smartphone to make it easier to hear people on the phone where you won’t be able to incorporate lip reading.
#5 Opt for Printed Material When Possible
If you are walking into a meeting that has a printable agenda or notes, be sure to print a copy. Review them beforehand so you know the general idea of the meeting and follow along in the notes. You may also choose to text, direct message, or email coworkers when a matter doesn’t require a verbal conversation. This can help to ensure fewer misunderstandings.
By implementing these 5 steps, you will find that your hearing aids are a very valuable asset in the workplace that help you to communicate and collaborate more efficiently with coworkers.
Statistics and research mentioned are taken from the Better Hearing Institute. BHI is a not-for-profit corporation that educates the public about the neglected problem of hearing loss and what can be done about it. Find them at www.betterhearing.org.
Article Written By
Caleb Rhodes, HIS
Caleb Rhodes studied at Western Kentucky Technical and Community College and Parkland College in Champaign Illinois with a focus on hearing instrument sciences. He began assisting the hearing impaired in 2003 and is licensed as a hearing instrument specialist.