Have you ever placed an order at a drive-through restaurant or coffee shop and not been able to hear the person at the other end? Aside from messing up your order, the frustration of not being able to communicate makes it a bad experience from the get-go.There are approximately 360 million people around the world who have hearing loss that is considered disabling. You may be one of these people or likely know one. There are a number of causes of hearing impairment, aging, illness, and noise exposure.
So in a large company, there can be quite a few employees who are slightly hearing impaired, moderately hearing impaired, to severely hearing impaired. Some may tell management about their challenges, while other want to keep their hearing troubles secret. Businesses are legally required to make certain accommodations, but it is good practice to outfit your workspaces to provide optimal communication for everyone.
From conference calls to public announcements, audio technologies are an integral part of business but sometimes end up low on the list of priorities. However, they can have the most impact on ensuring everyone is part of necessary communications.
Some recent improvements to hearing technologies include higher quality hearing aids, hearing loop systems, and software that transmits voice to text and even sign language to voice to text. Here are a few more things you can do:
- Make top audio technologies a priority. Good audio quality is an important starting point for ensuring good communications.
- Include video in meetings for face-to-face communications. This way, hearing impaired participants can read lips, hand gestures, etc.
- Remove stigmas around hearing loss. Talk openly about how you want an optimal environment for everyone, including those with hearing impairment. Include all coworkers in activities and conversations.
- Talk to an audio professional. An experienced integrator can point out often overlooked considerations, whether you are overhauling your audiovisual technologies or whether you just want to make sure you have employee-friendly, communication-optimized workspaces.
About 15 percent of Americans of working age have hearing loss caused by noise exposure. That’s at least seven people in an office of 50. It’s important that all your employees are happy and engaged with their work and their coworkers.