How to Support a Colleague with a Hearing Impairment
Earpieceonline is a supplier of radio earpieces and has been championing better support for people with hearing loss for several years. They recently compiled a guest blog post for our website which you can find below.
As many as 10 million people in the UK have a hearing impairment, and approximately 30 per cent of them are of working age. It is very likely that many will work alongside someone with hearing loss.
The Equality Act of 2010 recognises hearing loss as a disability and protects workers’ right to equal access and equality of opportunity. It’s important to be part of protecting these rights by learning how to support your hearing-impaired colleagues.
Support for a hearing-impaired colleague comes in many forms. It is essential to facilitate clear communications in the workplace.
Here are a few tips to ensure you communicate clearly:
- Speak clearly.
- Get your colleagues attention before speaking.
- Face the person you are talking to, look them in the eye and do not cover your mouth.
- Minimize background noise.
- Indicate a subject change. Context is an important aid to understanding.
- Rephrase instead of repeat.
- Be patient.
Serve as an advocate by doing the following:
- Assume your colleague will be able to participate in any work or social activity.
- Do not shout or get frustrated.
- Gently encourage a colleague who may have trouble hearing to get a check-up. Maybe suggest that you both get a hearing test?
- Ask how you can provide support.
Be an advocate. You can ensure that your entire workplace provides support by:
- Making sure that procedures are in place to communicate emergencies like fire alarms, both visually and audibly.
- Ensure that all training videos and corporate communications have subtitles.
- Encourage your workplace to use technologies like speech to text that assist your colleague.
Finally, be aware of tinnitus, one of the most common hearing ailments, with one in five people suffering from this condition. Tinnitus is ringing or buzzing in the ear when there is no external noise, it is intermittent, meaning that the sufferer doesn’t always show that they are suffering,