Securing a job position as an individual who is hard of hearing can be a challenge. Maintaining a healthy mindset once you have succeeded in doing so, however, is sometimes even harder.
As an employee on the deafness spectrum, you may face hardship in various forms.
Many of your colleagues may not know how best to approach you and effectively communicate with you, which can be incredibly discouraging and lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Open plan offices are yet another obstacle: the amount of background noise that is usually present in these spaces can make it impossible for individuals on the deafness spectrum to discern speech.
These are only some examples of the challenges that you may encounter at work as an employee on the deafness spectrum. Becoming fixated on the negatives, however, is rarely a good strategy.
Taking Active Steps
It is completely normal to sometimes become overwhelmed with the negative aspects that being an employee on the deafness spectrum involves. However, there is a variety of initiatives that you can take that can highly improve your work life quality:
Ask for Accommodations
Did you know that employers have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for people on the deafness spectrum so that they are not placed at a ‘substantial disadvantage’ at work in comparison to those with normal hearing? This means that you are entitled to accommodations that will help you function better and be more productive.
Asking your employer to provide these can feel dreadful, however the chances are that they would be more than willing to help since your performing at your full potential is in their interest, too.
It can sometimes be tempting to simply smile and pretend that you have heard what has just been said to you. However, communicating and being assertive of your needs can make a huge difference to your experience at work. Examples of this would be asking a colleague to meet in a quieter space or moving desk to a location with less background noise.
Consider a Hearing Aids Upgrade
Have you had your hearing aids for a while now? If the answer is yes, it might be time to consider an upgrade. Hearing aid technology is developing at an incredibly quick pace and there are many options for hearing aids that can actually provide better speech dexterity even in the presence of background noise, like the new Phonak Lumity, for example.
Focusing on Your Strengths
Have you thought about the strengths you possess as an employee because of your hearing impairment?
The chances are that, as an individual on the hearing loss spectrum, you have spent a significant amount of time during your life attempting to function within hearing culture. As a result, it is highly probable that you have developed high patience levels, as well as impressive adaptability and resourcefulness. Learning to lean into these strengths and channel them can change your entire perspective on the experience of being an employee on the deafness spectrum.
Being mindful about the various ways in which you can improve communication with your colleagues can be especially beneficial. Some of those include:
- Making your colleagues aware of your preferred communication style
- Ensuring that you can see their face clearly if lipreading
- Not being afraid to ask them to repeat or rephrase sentences in case you’re unable to understand what they have said
- Ensuring that they are able to get your attention before they start speaking and communicating your preferred method (for example, tapping you on the shoulder)
- Using assistive listening devices such as remote microphones and streamers together with your hearing aids to improve speech dexterity in the presence of background noise and reduce listening fatigue
If you are in need of some extra help hearing clearly at the workplace, why not have a look at our amazing range of high-quality assistive hearing devices? We offer a variety of FM hearing systems, Bluetooth hearing aid streamers, infrared wireless devices and microphones. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, you can click here to browse our shop and find the device most suitable for your needs!