It’s Deaf Awareness Week from 4 – 10 May 2020 and we’re shining the spotlight on deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss in the workplace.
There’s so much support, information and technology available, it’s never been easier to make hearing loss a priority. However, improving inclusivity for staff with hearing loss may seem daunting if you don’t know where to start.
We’re experts at helping organisations become more accessible to the 12 in 100 working-age people who are deaf or have hearing loss. Here are some useful tips for understanding their requirements and providing the right support.
How to be more deaf aware
It’s important to create an open culture so that staff feel comfortable about disclosing any hearing issues. When an employee asks for support, the first step is to find out which aspects of their job they’re finding a challenge. Depending on your employee’s preference, this could be discussed informally or in a structured way, such as a workplace assessment.
You will quickly discover what issues need to be addressed to help them work more easily. They could be finding it tricky to hear properly on the phone; straining to follow what’s going on in meetings; feeling excluded from workplace banter with colleagues; or worrying they won’t hear the fire alarm. A few simple changes can break down barriers and have a big impact.
How to provide support
A supportive working environment will boost morale, increase productivity and reduce stress for staff with hearing loss. We have an accessible solution for every situation and funding is available via the government’s Access to Work scheme:
- Are meetings exhausting? A personal listener can make discussions clearer and easier to understand.
- Phone calls a challenge? An amplified phone has deaf-friendly features like adjustable volume and tone control to enhance the sound.
- Struggling at training courses? Consider installing a hearing loop to help hearing aid users follow the conversation over background noise.
- Colleagues not communicating effectively? Offer deaf awareness training to increase empathy and understanding with other staff.
- Extra help sometimes required? Book communication support – sign language interpreters, lipspeakers, speech-to-text reporters and more.
- Worried about personal safety? Install flashing fire alarms for greater peace of mind.
- Background noise a problem? Improve the working environment by moving their desk, turning down music and using soft furnishings to cushion distracting sounds.
And, don’t forget that many of your customers and clients are likely to have hearing loss too. This Deaf Awareness Week, help your staff understand their needs by displaying our communication tips poster.