How to Create a More Inclusive Workplace for People Who Are Hearing Impaired

Over 48 million Americans have some form of hearing impairment. There are several adjustments you can make at your office to create a more accommodating environment. Doing so will help you expand the pool of candidates you can hire while ensuring that you meet ADA guidelines.

Create a More Inclusive Recruitment Process

Two people at a table communicating by sign language

During the hiring process, you’ll have several opportunities to show applicants who are hearing impaired that they’ll feel comfortable at your workplace. Many job listings ask if a candidate has a disability, such as a hearing impairment. However, you can go one step further by listing a phone number or email address that allows applicants to request special accommodations on your recruitment materials. Once candidates progress to the interview phase, make sure you have access to a sign language interpreter in case they ask for one.

Ask Employees Their Preferred Way to Communicate

Instead of assuming which accommodations an employee who is hearing impaired would like, you’ll save time and money by asking them directly. This shows that you value their input and comfort. Holding sensitivity training to help other employees understand best practices for communicating with people who are hearing impaired will also foster a more productive workplace while helping avoid any potentially uncomfortable missteps.

Ensure Your Communication is Inclusive

To make organizational communication inclusive, you should ensure that any videos you watch as an organization have captions. For in-person presentations, reserve seats in the front for employees who are hearing impaired so that they can easily read the text in PowerPoints, as well as the lips of the speaker. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many offices have gone remote, which means more meetings are held over video chat. Zoom Pro accounts have access to live transcription and closed captioning features. You can also assign an employee or a third-party service to transcribe conversations to make sure that everyone knows what’s being said.

Having a work environment that makes everyone feel welcome benefits both employees and employers. Associated Hearing Professionals has served patients who have hearing impairments in the St. Louis metro area for decades, and our audiologists are familiar with potential communication issues you may face at the office. We’d be happy to offer assistance if you’re deaf or hard of hearing and would like resources about advocating for yourself and other employees to create a more inclusive workplace. To learn more about how we can help you, call us at 636-778-9232 today to speak with a member of our staff.