As the new year unfolds and you continue to focus on your professional growth, attending work-related events is likely on your agenda. However, if you’re dealing with hearing loss, it can sometimes be challenging to fully engage in these settings. Remember, you are not alone; around 15% of American adults report some degree of hearing difficulty. There are numerous reliable strategies you can adopt to ensure that your hearing loss doesn’t hinder your communication abilities at work events.
When at work events, remember it’s okay to ask people to repeat themselves or request certain accommodations to make communication smoother for you. Here are some strategies to enhance your experience at work events like happy hours at Liberator Brewing Company.
Navigating Hearing Loss
- Plan your environment: Hearing speech sounds in noisy surroundings can be tough. So, try positioning yourself closer to the speaker in crowded events. Preferably sit at a round table, facing the speaker, away from loud music or kitchen noises. Avoid seats against windows and try to face the person speaking to you to leverage any lip-reading skills you may have.
- Request written notes: This is a reasonable accommodation you can ask for. You could receive written minutes post-meetings or send email summaries after discussions. For informal events like happy hours, this might be tricky, but there are alternative strategies available.
- Use your smartphone: Leverage technology such as speech-to-text and captioning apps like LiveCaption or eyeHear. These can prove handy during work events or other gatherings.
- Consult a hearing specialist about hearing aids: Regular check-ups to track your hearing loss progression are vital. Hearing aids can significantly improve your quality of life by enhancing your ability to hear speech sounds and connect with others. They can be customized to your needs and lifestyle, with some models offering Bluetooth® connectivity to stream content directly. They can also reduce background noise, making conversations more audible.
- Plan ahead: Discuss your hearing impairment level with your company, supervisor or colleagues. This will allow them to make necessary accommodations and consider your needs when planning events and experiences that everyone can enjoy.
With time, you’ll understand what strategies work best for you. If you’re unsure if you might have hearing loss but find it challenging to follow conversations at work events, consider scheduling a hearing test. Early detection can help preserve your residual hearing over the long term.
For any questions or to arrange a hearing test, contact Gary D. Schwartzberg Au.D. to schedule an appointment.