Information really is empowering for the individual with hearing loss, as well as a determination to succeed and live a life of their choosing in spite of their hearing difficulties. As such, to overcome the barriers and obstacles in life that result from hearing difficulties, it is crucial for the individual to equip themselves with the very best tools, knowledge and techniques.
Perhaps one of the greatest challenges in life is work. Finding work and thriving in a job can be difficult, even without the obstacles created by hearing loss. The good news is that when you understand your rights and how the law can help you, you will find yourself in a better position to overcome hearing loss and the obstacles it brings at work. More importantly, your employer has certain legal responsibilities to help you at work.
Here are our top tips to ensure that your employer supports you as much as possible and as required.
1. Take responsibility for your performance.
In many cases, deafness or a hearing loss can impact your performance at work. You may find it particularly difficult to manage your hearing loss with your performance if you have only recently begun to experience significant hearing loss.
Once you receive a formal diagnosis from your doctor, start to take note of exactly how your performance may be affected. Don’t wait until your employers or colleagues notice the difference and let you know; start to notice what areas of your working day may need to be addressed with your hearing loss.
This will help you to have constructive and fruitful conversations with your employer. It is your legal responsibility to communicate any problems you are having as a result of your disability to your employer. Before you have had communicated any issues you are having, you cannot legally expect your employer to help you.
Hearing loss commonly associated with aging. Why? Age-related hearing loss is the most common. Read more at The Causes of Hearing Loss: Aging.
2. Understand your diagnosis.
When you have a clear understanding of your hearing loss diagnosis, you are in the best position to have genuinely helpful discussions with your employer. This means understanding the symptoms and causes of your hearing loss, understanding whether your hearing loss is permanent or temporary, and selecting the appropriate treatments and/or hearing aids.
If you still have many unanswered questions about your diagnosis, arrange to meet your doctor to have those questions answered. You may also wish to take a look at our blog post The Three Main Classifications of Hearing Loss, which explores three most common hearing loss types and their causes. These may help you to give you at least a vague idea about your diagnosis.
Did you know that the sounds you hear can damage your hearing? Learn more about how loud noises impact your hearing with The Causes of Hearing Loss: Loud Noises.
3. Tell your employer what you need.
Your employer is legally responsible to provide accommodation and support, to enable you to do your job and perform as expected. If you work for a small-medium private business, your employers may not have had experience helping individuals with your specific hearing challenges.
Help them by informing them in a professional way. To understand your specific rights, take a look at the Hearing Loss Association of America’s Employment Toolkit.
Advanced Affordable Hearing is here to help you hear better at a price you can afford. If you are looking to purchase a pair of reasonably priced hearing aids, or have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us now.
For more information on coping with hearing loss in the workplace, check out these posts: