The month of May is upon us again, and we take this opportunity to celebrate an annual event—Better Hearing and Speech Month! The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association sets aside this month each year as a reminder of the ways that hearing and speech affect each of our lives. In addition to the general consideration of hearing and speech, this association also chooses a theme each year, and this year’s theme is “Communication at Work.”
For those of us with hearing loss, we know that things can be done to smooth out communication issues in the workplace. One issue might be lurking in the background, which is when hearing problems interfere in workplace communication. Let’s consider some general problems when it comes to workplace communication before drilling down into the particular issues facing those with hearing loss in the workplace. These problems are not an impossible obstacle to surmount, and some simple strategies can go a long way toward resolving communication issues in the workplace.
General Communication Solutions
Miscommunication comes with the territory whether you are working in an office, industrial, or service location. We have all had instances in which we meant to communicate a simple message to a coworker, but that information did not arrive or become actionable. Rather than focusing on the blame game with communication problems, solutions are a better way to approach general issues of miscommunication in the workplace. Most communication problems can be sourced to the medium of communication.
There are two general categories of communication: verbal and textual. When it comes to textual communication, the potential issues are as numerous as the modes of communication. Choosing the right mode is an important way to secure the efficacy of your communication, whether that be email, text message, interoffice chat, or handwritten memo. One of the common issues that comes through with textual communication is the possibility that it might be overlooked or disregarded. In these cases, multimodal communication is the best approach. Covering your bases with both a verbal and textual mode of communication can enhance the probability that your message will be received and acted upon by the recipient.
Hearing Loss and Communication Solutions
In addition to these general concerns with workplace communication, hearing loss can be an additional struggle. Undiagnosed and untreated hearing loss confounds the process of communication in the workplace in countless ways. Again, solutions should be the focus rather than trying to identify the source of the problem and casting blame on coworkers.
If you suspect that hearing loss may be getting in the way of communication with a coworker, there are steps you can take to make it easier for that person to excel in their role. Reserving your communication for times when you are face-to-face with that individual goes a long way toward improving the efficacy of that conversation. As well, you can be sure to double back after a conversation with a follow-up message reminding your coworker of essential information and actionable items. A simple email after a workplace conversation can be an easy way to make sure your information gets through.
Although these tips can improve workplace communication with a coworker who seems to have hearing loss, getting treatment is the only surefire way to improve the transference of information. If you believe you may have a hearing loss, then treatment is the only way to improve your efficiency in that environment. Asking your coworkers to take steps to fill in the gaps will only go so far. Take the opportunity as soon as possible to schedule a hearing test.
Our team will be able to recommend the right hearing aids to suit your individual hearing profile and lifestyle. Once you have access to the right treatment, speech recognition becomes less of a challenge. Hearing aids can make conversation quick and efficient where they used to be strained and confusing. For Better Hearing and Speech Month, take this opportunity to contact us to learn more about how hearing treatment can benefit you.