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Hearing Loss in the Workplace

Is your hearing loss holding you back?

On a recent office visit, my patient, who we’ll call, Ima Sample, expressed continued frustration with her business telephone. She also expressed difficulty hearing and understanding her clients, colleagues and supervisor.

Here is a brief background of Ima and her frustrations at work.

  • She has a long-standing hearing loss.
  • Has been a successful hearing aid user for many years.
  • She has very poor speech discrimination even in an ideal quiet listening situation.
  • Both in person and when on the telephone, she frequently asks for repetitions or misunderstands what is said, especially in the presence of background noise.
  • She reported that she especially has difficulty with soft spoken speakers or those who speak rapidly or have an accent.

She fears that her poor hearing is negatively impacting her work performance and an opportunity for advancement.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  What Can You Do About It?

With Ima, we helped her take the following steps to deal with her hearing loss in the workplace.

  • Adjusted her hearing aids based on her daily activity.  Remember, hearing aids are an aid to hearing, not new ears and cannot correct for certain limitations.  Learn more about hearing aids here.
  • Set her up with an inline phone head set amplifier that fits between the handset and base which offers 20-24 dB volume gain.  An excellent resource for special products for the hearing impaired is ADCO Hearing Products in Englewood at or 303-794-3928.
  • To help her confirm understanding of critical information, we advised her to repeat back what you think the caller has said so they know what you might have missed.
  • Ask the caller to speak louder or slower so that you can hear more clearly.
  • If your work space is in a noisy traffic area, ask to be moved to a quieter space within the office.

We are happy to say that Ima is doing much better at work.  She has learned how to deal with her hearing loss and not let it affect her performance at work.  Although no one can completely restore hearing loss, steps like above can drastically improve your quality of life.

If you have dealt with a similar situation, what are some steps you took to help deal with your hearing loss in the workplace or any other area of life?

Please contact any of our audiologists at our Colorado locations or call 303.502.9720 with questions about any of the above steps, or if you feel like hearing loss might be impacting your job performance.  If we don’t have the solutions, we will direct you to someone who does.

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