If you have a hearing loss, chances are you struggle to understand speech from a distance or in background noise. For those working at companies with open floor plans, hearing coworkers is even more challenging. Hearing aid technology has advanced in recent years so many hearing aids filter background noise or improve the wearer’s ability to distinguish where sounds are coming from. Along with these hearing aid features, there are simple things you can do to hear better in noisy environments. Our tips for using your hearing aids at work can help optimize your hearing at work – no matter what features your hearing aids provide.
- Many hearing aids can be paired with a microphone or smartphone using Bluetooth technology to stream speech directly to your hearing aids. You can place a microphone facing the direction of your co-workers during meetings to amplify their voices. Stream calls to your smartphone directly to your hearing aids to help you hear phone calls in noisy work environments.
- Use an amplified telephone, if you don’t have a smartphone, in your office or cubicle to help you understand over the phone – even when others are speaking around you.
- Keep backup batteries on hand that you can easily access throughout the day in case your batteries die. There is nothing more distracting than scrambling to find a battery during a busy conference, or going out to buy more batteries in an unfamiliar city!
- Sit where you can see everyone’s face to speech/lip read and to pick up on body language. Look out for sources of distracting background noise like fans and air vents so you can sit away from them.
- If you feel comfortable doing so, tell your coworkers. A simple reminder to your coworkers to speak clearly, face you while speaking, and rephrase rather than repeat misunderstood words is often all that is needed to enhance communication.
Most importantly, remember that you bring experience, skills, and strengths to the workplace every day. Your hearing loss does not define you and will not prevent you from performing well in the workplace. Don’t stop with our list! We encourage you to continue to find creative solutions to the issues that are specific to your hearing loss.