Communication At Work | May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

Communication At Work | May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

 

May is The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA’s) Better Hearing and Speech Month, with a focus on “Communication at Work,” and with many of us working from home or social distancing due to COVID-19, there’s no better time to review some of the techniques and technologies that can make your work experience more productive and enjoyable.

Disclose Your Hearing Loss

You don’t need to overemphasize your hearing loss, but people can’t accommodate what they don’t know about. Let your coworkers know that hearing is an issue for you when it comes up, and let them know how they can better communicate with you. After a few times, they’ll pick up on what works for you and start doing it automatically. You might say, “I’m a little hard of hearing, could you make sure to face me when you’re talking?” Or if you miss something they’ve said, ask them, “Could you say that again in different words?”

Face masks

You shouldn’t have to choose between understanding your coworker and potentially becoming a vector for illness. Unfortunately, most facemasks are completely opaque. On top of that, they filter the high frequencies out of speech, the very frequencies that are the first to be lost with sensorineural hearing loss. If you need to have a conversation with someone in person, maintain social distancing and ask them to send a follow-up email about whatever you discussed. You might also look into face masks with transparent windows for your coworkers.

Make the Most of Office Meeting Software

If you are working from home, Zoom and Google Meet are powerful communication tools during this time, but if you rely on lipreading you might have some issues with slower internet connections or older computer hardware introducing time-lags or freezes on your calls.

There may not be much to be done about internet or computer problems, but just for due diligence you might try getting closer to your home wifi router, using your smartphone instead of your computer, or connecting with the wifi hotspot on your phone instead of your home internet system. If a coworker is having connection issues, you might suggest these things to them as well.

Make sure everyone’s computer, phone or tablet is on a stable surface in a well-lit, quiet environment.. By the time our images get to the other end of the system, the bobbing around of a computer in a lap or a phone held up to the face can be very distracting, and will definitely make it harder to read lips. While many devices employ software that automatically brightens images when light is a bit low, this will usually make the image grainier, so make sure everyone has adequate lighting, whether from the sun or electric lights.

Also be sure to minimize background sounds on your end and ask your coworkers to do the same. While we all need to be understanding of the issues that might arise when we put together these ad hoc office networks, for those of us with hearing loss, a television in the background or a family member or roommate on a different call can be so confusing as to defeat the purpose of the meeting.

Get It in Writing

If meeting notes are written down, ask that you have access to them right away. Zoom supports any third-party closed captioning provider and includes an automatic transcriber. Google Meet also offers closed captioning. While the meeting notes and/or a transcript after the fact are great, they don’t help you participate better during the actual meeting, so realtime transcription or closed captioning might be worth considering if you’re having issues.

Statistically, untreated hearing loss can cost up to $30,000 per year in lost wages. Hearing aids can reduce the risk of lost earnings potential by over 90% for those with mild hearing loss, and by as much as 77% for those with moderate to severe hearing loss. So make sure you’re hearing what you need to hear, whether you’re working at home or at the office, jobsite or facility. If you currently don’t wear hearing aids but find yourself frequently asking people to repeat themselves, get a hearing test and find out if you could benefit from hearing aids. On top of improving earnings at work, they improve quality of life in many areas we might not even think about at first, and the sooner you start wearing them the better your path forward will be.

 

Encouraging a Loved One to Take a Hearing Test

Encouraging a Loved One to Take a Hearing Test

When your partner, parents, or friends experience a decline in their hearing, you might also be feeling the stress. Most people with hearing loss will wait a while before they seek professional help. In the meantime, your patience will be tested, and your life complicated to cope with your loved one’s hearing loss.

Most people aren’t aware they don’t hear as they did before. Because hearing gradually declines, we continue to compensate for it, making it harder to realize that we have even a problem.

How hearing loss affects everyone.

The loss of hearing does not only affect the person with it. It affects friends, family, even the mailman. Here are some of the ways it can affect others:

  • Increased frustration:Loud TVs, constantly repeating or translating for your loved ones, can be annoying. Friends and family are also asked to do the same.
  • Increased anxiety: The loss of hearing raised the risk of falls, accidents, and missed sounds of alarm — producing strain and stress for everyone.
  • Repeated miscommunications:If communication is slowed or incomplete, mistakes and misunderstandings are more likely to occur.
  • Sorrow: Seeing someone close to you, slowly withdraw from everything they’ve ever loved doing can be hard to take. 

Upon admission, one in 20 says no to a hearing test immediately. However, by addressing the problem sensibly and reflectively, you can increase the chances of success. Here’s how we suggest that you do this: 

Do your homework

Online information on hearing loss is plentiful. Look at regional associations, including the Hearing Loss Association of America and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Such pages include information on hearing loss symptoms, studies on hearing loss problems, and advice on treatment.

Pick a quiet time & place.

Hearing damage leads to a failure in speech recognition. That’s why you want to make sure you are heard loud and clear for your essential conversation. Rather than choosing a crowded café or busy restaurant, choose a peaceful, well-lit setting. Such conditions are more conducive to communicating well with your loved one.

Speak to your loved one about your experiences

It is a delicate topic, and you want to do all you can to avoid making your loved one defensive. Rather than dump all of your grievances on them, talk to them about the times where the condition has affected you personally. 

Where possible, draw attention to specific examples. “Using “I” declarations are more effective than framing it as the fault of your loved one. An example might be “I find it frustrating when I have to repeat myself so often.”

Ask for their opinion

When you let your loved one know your thoughts, ask questions, and see what they have to tell you about your loved one. People are also far more open to support if they own the reasons, which may encourage them to share their stories on their hands. Ask open-ended questions to include more detail – instead of merely asking yes or no.

Don’t be a ‘human hearing aid.’

Try not to be the ears of your loved one. Many people with hearing loss expect other people to help them hear things for them. You can show your beloved how much they rely on outside support to understand by refraining from doing so. Your point can be made manifest through small adjustments, such as pointing out the situations when you are helping them understand something.

Do not encourage your loved one to survive without a hearing aid. Changing your actions to mold the immediate needs of someone who has a hearing impairment is not beneficial in the long run. It is best to help them understand that their problem with hearing is their problem, not anyone else’s.

Take a test yourself.

Give yourself an annual hearing test too. That way, you are walking the walk when it comes to the importance of maintaining good hearing health. An easy way to do this is to have one as part of your annual physical. 

If your loved one is up for a hearing test, arrange a meeting with us. A hearing test will offer a clear understanding of your loved one’s condition and help us decide whether a hearing impairment is present. 

The only way to get a comprehensive assessment of their listening ability is through a qualified professional like us. At Concierge Hearing Group, we’ll provide the best advice and technologies to fit their requirements best.

The Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss

The Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss

The easiest way to treat mild to moderate hearing loss is with the use of hearing aids, but you wouldn’t know it from the numbers. Given the detrimental effects of chronic hearing loss, corrective action was taken by just 20 percent of people with hearing loss. The use of hearing aids could help 28 million people in the United States.

Recent studies have shown that the vast majority of people with hearing aids experience positive outcomes. Today’s hearing aids are sophisticated automated, elegant, programmable, cosmetically appealing devices that have proven to improve hearing even in the noisiest of environments.

Here are some of the advantages related to the use of hearing aids for those with hearing loss.

Better personal safety

The treatment of hearing loss could improve your balance. In a study by Dr. Frank Lin of John Hopkins University and Dr. Luigi Ferrucci M.D., Ph.D., of the National Institute on Aging, it was found that people with a moderate hearing loss had a three-fold chance of falling. The risk of falling increased by 1.4 percent with every 10 dB of hearing loss. Lin said that gait and balance are “cognitively taxing,” and so is loss of hearing. This means the brain has a diminished capacity to concentrate on gait and stability as it is forced to expend extra time trying to hear.

Treating hearing loss can also increase your spatial and aural awareness. Perhaps the most crucial way hearing aids keep you safe is by making you more conscious of dangerous sounds. Think of a car’s music coming around a corner, a pot boiling over, or a timer on the oven going off. Cooking, taking a stroll, crossing the street are not activities that are necessarily risky to do. But dangerous conditions may quickly occur without the requisite sensory input.

Better relationships

Communication is a big issue for people who lose their hearing as they age. Once they are unable to understand others, they may withdraw from social experiences. They may avoid trying to reach out because they are ashamed or upset with their friends or relatives.

Hearing loss treatment enhances their communication capacity, which helps these people to stay in contact with their loved ones. Such positive partnerships keep individuals involved and connected with others, encouraging a better quality of life.

Fewer emotional issues

There are also psychological benefits associated with hearing loss, including a lowered risk of anxiety or depression.

The National Council on Aging has reported that people who don’t seek hearing loss care are much more likely to be depressed than their peers. The study found that 22 percent of people who used hearing aids indicated anxiety or depression feelings. For those who did not seek support, this number was 30 percent.

This emotional gain is directly tied to the social benefits of hearing loss treatment. When individuals are socially isolated due to hearing loss, then the natural consequences of depression and anxiety arise.

Slow Cognitive Decline

There have been many studies connecting hearing loss with an increased risk of dementia and mental fatigue, as well as cognitive decline.

Continuing research continues to demonstrate the connection between untreated hearing loss and lack of hearing aids. Hearing loss, if left untreated, can worsen atrophy in the brain’s auditory nervous system, where speech and comprehension occur, a study by the University of Pennsylvania has suggested. Quite merely, areas of the brain reusable for sound signal processing shrink due to a lack of use.

Researchers have discovered that hearing aids not only delay atrophy but also improve your hearing ability and the ability of your brain to translate sounds into information. This exciting research area supports the idea that mitigating impaired hearing loss with hearing aids could delay cognitive decline.

Higher earning power

Several studies have found that hearing loss treatment could help you earn more money. A Better Hearing Institute study has shown that untreated hearing loss can cut annual earnings by as much as $30,000. The study also found that treatment of hearing loss with hearing aids was found to minimize the risk of reduced revenues by more than 90 percent for people with mild hearing loss, and nearly 77 percent for those with moderate to extreme hearing loss.

Treating your hearing impairment with a hearing aid will allow you the ability to communicate more easily with those around you. Just put them on in the morning and enjoy a day of interacting with the ones who matter the most in your life. To get started, schedule a consultation with us today.