Hearing loss is a serious issue since about 60% of people who are affected by it are in the US workforce. This means that it’s likely that if you aren’t affected by it at work, you will know someone who is. Here’s some information about workers’ rights, protecting your hearing, accommodations for hearing loss at work, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other issues that affect hearing loss at work.
Accommodations at the Work Place
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, it’s required that your employer provide aid for helping those who have hearing loss. This is non-negotiable, and if your employer is trying to tell you that they refuse to give you some kind of help to make working easier even though you have hearing loss, then they are in the wrong.
You can inform them of the Act, or else ask someone else in a position to help to connect with your employer and help them realize what they are supposed to do lest they end up in trouble. The mission of this act is to help with education so that people know what its’s like to have a disability and to stop looking down on people who have one.
Another part of the act is to stop both fraud and discrimination. This includes any company that tries to deny access to different kinds of aids, including for those who have hearing loss. IN other words, your employer can’t tell you that you can’t wear a hearing aid or have some other help if you have a hearing disability.
Hearing Loss Prevention Practices for Environments with Loud Noises
The key to preventing hearing loss is to try and limit how much you’re in an area with a lot of loud noises. If possible, try to only be around the loud noises for a limited amount of time per day. In cases where this isn’t possible, or you can’t lower the volume of the noise, you instead need to wear protection.
This could include earplugs, for example, but it could also include wearing full head protection in the form of devices that look like headphones which can isolate you from sounds. Some of these just work on their own, but others are powered to make it so that
Working with Hearing Loss
If you have hearing loss and can’t do much about it at the moment, there are some things you can do to make the workplace a little easier given the situation. The first thing you can do in this situation is to make sure you understand what your rights are. The Disability Act protects you and it’s important that you know it inside and out to prevent exploitation.
It’s important that you stand up for yourself when it comes to this situation. You want to always be polite of course, but you also want to tell your employer the truth about what you think is fair given the situation. An example may be asking those who work with you to always look in your direction and speak loudly and slowly to make it easier.
It may be tempting for your employers to tell you to just get over it or to conform to the volume and mode of talking everyone else uses, but you have the right to ask for this change, and you absolutely should use it. This is the law.
Another important consideration is to make sure you’re ready ahead of time for what’s going to happen. For example, you could ask for as much material as possible to be put in writing. That way, it will be easier for you to follow along.
There are many technical solutions these days that can make your life easier. There’s a way to hook up a microphone to make it easier for your hearing aid to tap right into it, for example. It’s also possible to use the radio for this situation as well.
If possible, you’re going to want to go to your manager right away to see what is and isn’t feasible so that you can go on protecting your hearing, protecting your workers’ rights, and make sure you perform your job well.
Hearing Care Centers
If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing and are struggling with communication, contact us today. We provide comprehensive hearing health services and we’re here to help!