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May is Better Hearing and Speech month, and it’s a perfect time to learn more about hearing loss. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is comprised of audiologists, speech pathologists, scientists, and researchers, who use Better Hearing and Speech Month as a time to talk about communication disorders. Hearing loss is a communication disorder that makes it difficult to hear family and friends, and maintain healthy relationships with loved ones. The theme of Better Hearing and Speech month for 2020 is Communication at Work.
Better Hearing and Speech Month
As Americans practice social distancing, and many have started working from home, the ASHA is providing resources and support to those with communication disorders. Many of us are moving our social and professional lives online, and the ASHA is working to empower people with hearing loss and other communication disorders as they communicate at work. During Better Hearing and Speech month, they’ll provide more information for:
- Building communication skills among children with communication disorders who are staying home from school.
- Helping kids stay socially connected while at home.
- Communicating on Zoom during work meetings or social events.
- Managing hearing loss while working remotely.
The Impact of Hearing Loss
All communication disorders disrupt the ability to communicate easily with family, friends, and coworkers. If you’re living with untreated hearing loss, you’ll struggle to have a conversation with your partner, or follow the story your grandchild is telling you. It will be hard to catch up with a friend on the phone, or hear a coworker during a work call or zoom meeting.
Living with untreated hearing loss leads to a reduction in quality of life. All these challenges take a toll on your concentration, and by the end of the day you’ll be completely exhausted. As you struggle to follow conversations, you’ll have a hard time connecting with family and friends, and feel lonely or isolated. People with hearing loss are far more likely to suffer from anxiety, high levels of stress, or even depression. The inability to communicate effectively can cut you off from loved ones, and reduce your quality of life.
Communication at Work
Not only does hearing loss make it difficult to communicate with words, it also makes it harder to pick up on the subtleties of communication, such as tone of voice, and you rely more heavily on facial expressions and body language. If you’ve been working from home, these conversational cues may be missing, and you’re finding it hard to keep up with your workload.
To communicate effectively at work, whether at home or in the office, you can follow these tips to help you keep up:
- Ask for it in writing: If you’re receiving instructions, either in person or on the phone, ask your employer to provide it in writing, and send you an email with all the important information. This will ensure you don’t miss anything important, or mishear an instruction. You can also ask coworkers to clarify tasks in writing to avoid any miscommunication.
- Ask for meeting notes: If you’re in a meeting, whether in the boardroom or on Zoom, ask for the meeting minutes at the end of the meeting, and skim them to make sure you’ve understood everything that was discussed.
- Take turns speaking: When your team gets excited, you may start talking all at once. This makes it extremely difficult for you to follow what’s being said, so ask your team to take turns speaking.
- Be open about your hearing loss: Your coworkers value your insights, and they want you to be successful at your job. Be open about your hearing loss, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you haven’t heard something. Your coworkers will be happy to make a few accommodations to help you hear.
Schedule a Hearing Test
If you’re living with untreated hearing loss, it’s affecting your family and your work. The best thing you can do for your quality of life and your job performance is to schedule a hearing test with our team. Celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month by learning more out about your unique hearing loss, and explore your treatment options. You’ll be amazed at how easily you can communicate with family and coworkers, both in person and online.