If you’re one of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, you understand the struggle to communicate well in everyday environments. Below is an overview of some stressful listening situations you may encounter and tips for improving your communication abilities as businesses and other public spaces begin to reopen.
If you’re telecommuting, video conference calls are a staple in the workplace. Unfortunately, poor audio and video connection, background noise and low sound quality can be challenging. Try the following tips:
- Sync your hearing aids. If you wear hearing aids that have Bluetooth connectivity, sync them to your computer, tablet or whatever device you’re using to telecommute for optimum sound clarity.
- Use noise-cancelling headphones. If you don’t have Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids, try using noise-cancelling headphones during virtual meetings. Because they block ambient sounds, you’ll have an easier time following the conversation than if you use your computer speakers or earbuds.
- Advocate for yourself. If you are having difficulty following the conversation, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask your colleagues to accommodate your communication needs.
Once you are back in the workplace, you’ll re-encounter some problem you’ve no doubt dealt with previously, like background noise, reverberation throughout the office and difficulty talking on the phone. These tips may help:
- Ask your HR rep or manager if you can move your workspace to a quieter location.
- Put a rug under your chair and/or noise-absorbing panels on your walls.
- Request a closed-captioned or amplified phone. Noise-cancelling headphones can also assist with calls.
When it comes to dining out, preparing in advance is one of the best ways to ensure a positive experience. Research restaurants using the SoundPrint app to find out their decibel ratings and whether you will be able to have a conversation easily. Look on venues’ websites to see photos of their décor – carpets, curtains, tablecloths and padded booths with absorb sound better than open floorplans with concrete, wood or metal accents.
Once at the restaurant, request to be seated at a quiet table in the corner and away from the kitchen. Ask for a written copy of the day’s specials. If you go during slower hours rather than during the lunch or dinner rush, the restaurant will be more easily able to accommodate your requests.
For more information about communication strategies or to schedule an appointment with an audiologist, contact Mt. Hood ENT today.