In this article, we look at 7 ways you can bring Deaf awareness to the workplace. For instance, did you know that 1 in 12 people in the workplace has a hearing loss or is profoundly deaf? In the UK alone, there are 12 million adults with hearing loss. These statistics should make you clearly see that deaf awareness in the workplace is an essential topic to dive deeper into.
The UK Council on Deafness website highlights some of the difficulties that come with someone hard of hearing and trying to work. They state that deaf individuals often feel unsupported, unwanted, invisible, and excluded. Deafness very often goes hand in hand with other invisible challenges, many of which are too vague to be noticed. It is worth noting that this can lead to the additional challenges of daily struggles with mental health.
Deaf Awareness in the Workplace
It’s important that employers and companies understand best practices and tips for communicating with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing. This way everyone will have a better and healthier experience in the workplace and there will be a greater chance for employee satisfaction and collaboration. Below are 7 ways to improve communication with those who are experiencing hearing loss or are deaf.
1. Grab Full Attention
You must have the full attention of the person you’re speaking with that’s deaf or hard of hearing. Tapping on the shoulder, a table, or even flicking on and off a light switch are good techniques to get attention. Confirm you have their full attention before you begin speaking. This is the best way to give yourselves a better chance of being on the same page and understanding one another.
2. Configure the Right Environment
The environment and location you’re are key for communicating as well. Configure the environment you’re in so that it’s well-lit and you can avoid distractions. The reason being is that a well-illuminated room helps a deaf person to understand what you are saying.
3. Learn Some Basic Sign Language
It’s a wise idea that you and your employees learn some basic sign language. This will show the person you all care to improve communication and help you understand one another. Having a basic knowledge of BSL is a great way to communicate. Sign BSL is an accredited app you can download as a dictionary.
4. Make Eye Contact
Another tip for deaf awareness in the workplace and enhancing communication is to make eye contact. Not only does making eye contact help those that rely on lip-reading, but also face the person because they also will likely rely on your facial cues. Don’t assume all staff with hearing loss can lipread.
5. Confirm They Understand You
Don’t be afraid to confirm that the person who is deaf or hard of hearing in the workplace understands you and what you’re trying to say. Take the time to check that the person is following what you are saying and adjust your method if there is any confusion.
6. Avoid Shouting
Whatever you do, make it a point not to shout. Ideally, you should maintain a normal volume when talking and interacting at work. It can be uncomfortable for a hearing aid user if you shout and may distract others.
7. Use Plain Language & Speak One at A Time
Finally, use plain language when conversing with someone hard of hearing or deaf in the workplace. Complicated words are typically more challenging to lip-read. Most importantly, always speak one at a time so that you’re not talking over each other.
Deaf awareness in the workplace is vital and should be something all workers take into consideration and strive to know more about. These are some tips to get you started in the right direction at your office.
Want to learn more? Get in touch with us today. We can offer support with the management of deafness in the workplace and provide hearing tests to identify work-related hearing loss.