A hearing loss advocate is open and can ask others to be the same. When you normalize hearing loss instead of hiding it, you lessen the negative stigma around a hearing impairment. Hearing your best means having the right technology for the environments you’re in most often — t speci cally to your unique hearing needs — and maximizing that technology with better communication strategies. Being honest with co-workers, family members, and friends about what you need is the rst step toward understanding.
Your loved ones are the most important people in your life, and they feel the same way about you. They are there to support you, but they may not know how. Here are our suggestions to help start that conversation.
TALK IT OUT.
Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with hearing loss or you’re t with technology, it’s best to speak to those closest to you about your hearing loss.
Explain how your daily activities are a ected by your hearing loss. Give speci c examples so they understand what they can do to help.
LET THEM KNOW.
If you wish your loved
ones would do something di erent or help you out, let them know. This can be an ongoing conversation.
There is value in knowing you’re not the only one in the workforce with hearing loss. Of the people with hearing loss, 60 percent are either in the workforce or in educational settings. These steps will help you talk to your employer about not only your hearing loss but how to help you continue to do your best work.
Talking to your employer about your hearing loss may be intimidating. To help build up your con dence, practice what you want to say to make sure you cover the important points.
HELP YOUR EMPLOYER.
Explain how your hearing loss a ects your duties at work. Come to your employer with solutions so they have a better understanding of how to help.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.
Learn your employer’s policy for supporting people with a disability or health condition, as well as what steps you can take together to ensure you’re able to do what you do best.
Depending on your personality and mood, the public can be the easiest or most dif cult to explain your hearing impairment to.
Explain that you have a hard time hearing, and ask for what you need. That addresses your hearing impairment while establishing a foundation for the conversation.
IT’S UP TO YOU.
Do not feel obligated to
tell everyone about your experience. The more you practice advocacy, the easier it will be to judge whether telling that person is helpful.
LAUGH IT OFF.
If someone has a negative reaction because you did not hear them, make light of the situation. Speaking directly
to what happened forces a conversation, which increases education and understanding.
Start breaking the stigmas.
Call us for more information on hearing loss, workplace rights, community programs, and how you can advocate against hearing loss stigmas.