Dear Anna: I just started a new job and I’m finding that it’s more difficult to understand people in meetings than it used to be, even with my hearing aids. I know there are many hearing aid accessories out there that helps pick up speech in such settings where there are many people in a room or around a table, but what is the best one for a professional work environment? – Employeed Deafie in New York
Dear Employeed Deafie,
How to cope with hearing aids in the workplace is a question that I have often been, asked but it is an issue that is often overlooked. Now with more people retiring later in life it is something that I feel is going to become a more common question.
If you are working in an office environment there are many accessories that can be used with your hearing aids to help, for example when you are in a meeting or on the phone, that can help make your office more hearing loss-friendly. These devices are sometimes called assistive listening devices or environmental aids.
However, there are many different solutions and knowing what is best can be a challenge. It can depend on if you work in an open plan office or have to go to different meeting rooms with variable acoustics or if you spend a lot of time on phone calls. Most Audiologists will provide some kind of service to assess this for you, either in the form of simple advice and guidance or a work based assessment.
In some countries there are organizations or government run schemes that will offer this service and sometimes these schemes provide financial assistant to help purchase this equipment. It is in everyone’s best interests to keep people happy and content in their place of work.
I wish you luck in your new job and hope you find a solution to be able to follow the meetings easily. You can learn more about Phonak hearing solutions for the workplace to give you an idea of what is available.
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