Did you know that approximately 15% of American adults report some trouble hearing, according to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders? This indicates if you work at a medium- or large-size company, you likely have a handful of coworkers with hearing loss. In this post, we review ways to support a coworker with hearing loss.
Use Communication Strategies
Whenever you’re conversing with a coworker who has trouble hearing, you should use the following communication strategies:
- Sit or stand somewhere with good lighting and minimal background noise.
- Get your coworker’s attention before you begin conversing.
- Speak clearly and somewhat slowly, but still naturally.
- Use simple sentence structures.
- Check for understanding from time to time.
- Don’t talk with food or gum in your mouth.
- Rephrase rather than repeat after a misunderstanding.
- Avoid talking over one another or interrupting.
During your conversations, you can feel free to ask questions, like if there are other communication strategies you could be using that would help them hear you better. You can even ask them how their hearing aids work. However, you should not make this the only topic of conversation with them.
When you’re headed to lunch at Sway on Bee Caves Road, make sure to personally invite your coworker(s) with hearing loss. They may not have heard if someone made an announcement on the way out the door. When it comes to other work activities, go up and talk to them if they’re standing somewhere alone.
If your coworker prefers to stay in their office during lunch and avoids other activities, avoid labeling them as being antisocial. They may experience auditory overload or listening fatigue in complex listening environments.
Whenever you’re leading a meeting or giving a presentation, use visuals like a slide deck or handout so anyone with hearing loss can follow along with greater ease. This will also help engage people who don’t have hearing loss, as well.
For more information about communication strategies or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call Victory Hearing & Balance today.