The new era of telecommunication brings with it new challenges for those with hearing loss and impairment. With the shift to remote work, learning, and socializing, our lives are increasingly lived while interfacing with screens and headphones, and the videoconferencing media environment can be disorienting for anyone.
Along with the increase in remote engagement comes a whole host of new challenges for those with hearing loss, and these effects might even extend as far as threatening job success. Let’s take a moment to consider some of the workplace potential effects for those with hearing loss both in person and from a remote location.
Hearing Loss at the Workplace
The additional workplace challenges facing those with hearing loss range from moments of awkward discomfort to serious errors in judgment and even health and safety risks. If you struggle to understand what your managers or coworkers are saying, it can cause interpersonal discomfort or tension. The struggle to communicate can affect your sense of rapport with coworkers and managers alike.
However, hearing loss can also lead to informational gaps that have serious consequences for workplace productivity and safety. If your coworker shouts from another location within your office or industrial site, that person might assume that you received a crucial message. In fact, you might have missed an instruction, question, or warning that has implications for the work project or workplace safety.
With these considerations in mind, it is essential to get regular hearing tests and to pursue hearing assistance when the time comes. Studies have even shown a strong relationship between hearing loss and lower earnings, suggesting that these effects extend beyond the rare mishap that might occur.
Hearing Loss and Remote Work
With so many Americans turning to remote work, communications are more important than ever. The process of interacting via videoconference, such as Zoom or Google Hangouts, is challenging for all involved. we are faced with a new pace of conversation, and a new expectation to remain aware of multiple speakers, voices, and chats at the same time. Some platforms are better at facilitating communication than others.
While some flash quickly between the faces of speakers, others allow you to view all those in the call at the same time. The close-up visual of a speaker can help someone with hearing loss read lips, gestures, and expressions, but the quick flashing between faces can also obscure these features in some instances. In-the-moment closed captioning is another option that some platforms provide and others do not.
If you can enable captions on a video call, they can help fill in the gaps in missing sound for a person with hearing loss or impairment. If you have hearing loss and find yourself in a confusing video conference environment, be sure to take proactive steps to clarify. In some cases, you can get a recording of the meeting and revisit confusing sections.
You can ask your coworkers or manager to repeat or clarify unclear moments in the videoconference. You can even send a follow-up email to your team leader after a videoconference to inquire if anyone kept minutes. However, the only durable solution is to seek treatment for your hearing loss.
Seeking Treatment for Hearing Loss
Hearing loss treatment most often takes the form of hearing aids. These devices are remarkably effective at improving the quality of your conversations, both in person and remotely. Although they often require an adjustment period, the result tends to be better communication, relationships, and even workplace effectiveness. The latest hearing aids even come equipped with Bluetooth connectivity. This feature is ideal for an already-confusing communication environment in a video conference call.
If you can stream the audio of this conversation directly to your hearing aids, you can bypass other environmental sound and get the volume and audio profile suited to your individual needs. With statistics showing that those with hearing loss have worse employment outcomes and even lower incomes on the whole, the time is now to schedule a hearing test.