Georgia has been among the first states reopen businesses after lockdowns due to safety concerns raised by the Coronavirus. As you transition back into public spaces, here are some tips for better hearing and listening.
Hearing in work environments can be challenging. Background noise from nearby meetings, phone calls and water cooler conversations, reverberation in open-floorplan office settings and calls with clients can all prove difficult when you have hearing loss.
According to Sarah Kirk, audiologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, “We see a lot of older patients at our clinic who feel embarrassed because they’re really struggling to hear in the work environment.”
While hearing loss is an invisible disability, employees with this condition are entitled to protections thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
If you cannot hear well, talk to your manager or HR rep about moving to a quieter office, perhaps one located in a corner, one with a door, or one away from copy machines, fans or air conditioning units.
If you can’t move your workspace, you can minimize noise reverberation by adding a small rug under your chair or noise-absorbing panels on the walls.
For people with difficulty talking on the phone, your HR rep can provide a phone with closed-captioning or increased volume capability, or a set of noise-cancelling headphones that will eliminate background noise.
The best thing you can do to improve your dining experience is plan ahead. Research restaurants in advance to ensure they are not loud and won’t reverberate noise. Apps like SoundPrint provide decibel ratings for restaurants, allowing you to find one near you that is conversation-friendly. In addition, looking at photos of venues in advance will show you whether they will absorb sound (if they have carpet, drapes and padded booths) or reverberate sound (open plans with wood or metal accents).
Once you arrive, ask your host or hostess to be seated at a quiet table, away from the main entrance and kitchen, preferably near a corner. Request that your waiter provides a written copy of the specials. Try to go during off-hours and avoid lunch and dinner rush.
For more communication strategies or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call ENT of Georgia today.