It’s a problem that is only going to get worse: aging workers with hearing loss.
The Pew Research Center found that as of early 2015 the labor force was made up of about 45 million boomers between the ages of 51 and 70.
And the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2022 about one third of those aged between 65 and 74 will still be part of the workforce.
Since 1 out of every 6 boomers have some level of hearing loss, that translates to about 7 million people in the work force who have some hearing loss!
Unfortunately, most work places seem to want to ignore the problem altogether.
Simple accommodations for those with hearing loss such as hearing loops or real time captioning are rarely used by most businesses.
If you have a hearing loss, here are some things you can do proactively to make sure you can do your job fully:
1. Get hearing aids. This is the easiest thing you can do to not only improve your work performance but to improve all aspects of your daily life.
2. Discuss your hearing loss with your immediate co-workers and supervisor. And, if they don’t seem to remember, remind them. Since hearing loss is invisible some people may need to be told multiple times. Most people will be happy to work with you and make sure they can communicate with you effectively, if you ask them.
3. Ask your boss for some accommodations such as a captioned phone or a hearing loop. Many businesses will offer these accommodations for customers but totally forget to offer them for their employees!
The specific types of accommodations you need will depend on the type of work you do but there are things that can be done for most industries to make it easier for you to do your job well.