Workplace Communication Tips for People With Hearing Loss

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Hearing loss can make workplace communication challenging. In my recent talk on hearing loss in the workplace at Goldman Sachs, I shared tips for what we, as people with hearing loss, can do to enhance communication success. These include things like understanding our own hearing loss and making sure our requests for assistance are very specific. My latest article for Hearing Tracker summarizes these suggestions. Please share your ideas in the comments.

An excerpt from the article is below. To read the full post click here

Workplace Communication Tips For People With Hearing Loss

Understand your hearing loss.

Everyone’s hearing challenges are unique so each of us must learn to identify which listening situations are most problematic and through trial and error, what adjustments are most helpful. Then we need to take the next step, which is making the adjustments necessary or being brave and asking for the help we need.

Make very specific suggestions.

Because hearing loss is an invisible disability, people may not know that we need help unless we ask for it. We can’t be shy and we must be as specific as possible in our requests. Well-intentioned people may try to help us by shouting or leaning into our ear, but this will block their lips.

For example, I recently did a yoga teacher training. Before the training, I told the teachers about my hearing loss and we worked out a plan. On the first day, they were considerate and saved me a seat in the circle that was right next to them. I assume they thought this would help me hear them, but what I really needed was a seat where I could see their faces so I could use lipreading to augment my residual hearing.

I realized I had not mentioned that specifically, hence the misunderstanding. I was able to move my spot and everything was fine, but it reminded me that when we ask for what we need, it has to be very specific. Even the best intentioned may get it wrong because hearing loss is such a hard thing to understand if you have not lived with it. It is our job as the people with hearing loss to explain what we need as clearly as possible.

For more tips, please continue reading on Hearing Tracker.

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8 thoughts on “Workplace Communication Tips for People With Hearing Loss”

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thanks for sharing what works for you.

  1. I have started to implement these during our in person meetings. When we do a huddle it is usually using google and I am able to turn on the closed captioning. However I am getting frustrated with our HR dept, I put in a special request to help me when I have to answer the phones. I am getting no where with them even though my audiologist told them what would work for me.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      That is frustrating. Keep at it. You have the law on your side.

  2. I couldn’t manage without a Roger pen for one to one or one to two conversations at work. I also can’t be without the Roger Select mic for groups or meetings.

    The other main tactic when meeting new people is being upfront and telling them that I’m deaf and that they need to face me and use the assistive technology.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Good advice. Thanks for sharing what works for you.

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