Communicating With Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Colleagues

Overcoming Hearing Loss Challenges

Communicating With Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Colleagues - Overcoming Hearing Loss Challenges

© iStockphoto
IakovKalinin

Other people might hear things differently.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton; actors Rob Lowe and Robert Redford; composer Danny Elfman; actresses Marlee Matlin, Halle Berry and Jodie Foster, and athlete and U.S. congressman Jim Ryun.

What do these accomplished individuals have in common? They are among the estimated 360 million people worldwide who have experienced hearing loss. As their success demonstrates, people who are deaf or hard of hearing can thrive in many lines of work.

In this article, we'll explore what it means to be deaf or hard of hearing, how this can affect people in the workplace, and how to provide a positive, accommodating working environment for those with hearing loss.

What Is Hearing Loss?

With an aging workforce more prone to natural hearing loss, and with numbers of occupational hearing-loss issues on the rise, it's important to understand how this might affect your team members. According to a 2014 survey, more than 10 percent of full-time U.S. workers have been diagnosed with hearing loss, and another 30 percent believe that they have an undiagnosed condition.

People with hearing loss fall into two broad categories: deaf or hard of hearing. The National Association of the Deaf uses "hard of hearing" to describe people who have some ability to hear, and "deaf" to refer to people who cannot use hearing to communicate or process information....

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