How to Talk to your Manager about Hearing Loss

Last update on Aug, 03, 2022

Has this ever happened to you at work?

You join your co-workers for an important meeting and can’t seem to follow what is being said. You pick up bits and pieces of the conversation, but when your boss asks, “what do you think?” your mind draws a blank. You ask them to give a summary of the conversation and leave the meeting feeling embarrassed. How do you confront this gap in communication without bringing up your hearing loss? Is there anything you can do?

Addressing your hearing struggles at work might seem daunting, but you aren’t alone! Approximately 12% of American workers suffer from hearing loss. With numbers like that, there’s a good chance that some of your co-workers might be struggling as well. Additionally, the consequences of not addressing your hearing loss at work can be detrimental to your career, personal life, and well-being. The Hearing Health Foundation found that untreated hearing loss can decrease one’s annual income by as much as $30,000! That’s why it’s so important to talk to your manager about your hearing loss and seek accommodations so you can get your work done efficiently, without any barriers to communication.

What accommodations can my manager provide me with?

Ask for a written meeting agenda

Having your manager or co-worker send you a written agenda before meetings can help you follow along with what’s being said. Additionally, taking notes or having someone else send you notes after the meeting can help you to catch up on anything you might have missed.

Use a HAC phone

If you have a landline phone at your desk, it’s helpful to have a HAC (hearing aid compatible) phone. All employers are required by the FCC to provide HAC phones. So, in case you didn’t know or haven’t yet connected your hearing aids to your work phone, talk to your manager to set it up. 

Adjust your work area

If you find that your work area is too noisy and you struggle to concentrate, ask your manager if you can move to a quieter part of the office. If you find that the dim lighting in your office makes lip reading difficult, you can also ask that this issue be addressed.

What can I do to manage my hearing loss at work?

Take advantage of hearing aid technology

Not only are hearing aids smartphone compatible, but they also have all sorts of features that make it easier for you to be a part of the conversation. Many hearing aids have adaptive directional microphones that isolate voices from distracting background noise. Virtually all modern hearing aids are also Bluetooth® capable, meaning that you may be able to connect them to your work laptop for a seamless video call experience.


Turn on closed captions for video calls

Video calls have become more and more common since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, you may find that video calls are where you struggle to hear the most! Especially when your co-worker’s noisy dog is barking in the background or your wi-fi connection is cutting in and out. Enabling closed captions on your device is one way to combat poor audio quality. 

Be honest with your co-workers

Talking to your manager is a great way to start addressing your struggles in the workplace, but you will also benefit from letting your co-workers know what they can do to include you in the conversation. Ask your co-workers to face you directly when they’re speaking to you. If it helps, you can also ask them to speak up or to enunciate. Keep in mind that it may take a few reminders for your co-workers to catch on, so try to stay patient. 

Speak up when a task is beyond your abilities

Everyone has their limits! If you are assigned a task or project that would be difficult to complete because of your hearing loss, work with your manager to delegate tasks or find an alternative project. 

Remember, you have so much to offer an employer. Don’t let your hearing loss get in the way of your expertise and talent. Get your hearing checked annually and if you have hearing aids, wear them consistently to ensure you’re not missing out at work. Considering trying hearing aids for the first time or think you may need new ones? Call our hearing care experts to check if you have a hearing benefit with Amplifon Hearing Health Care. Our members save an average of 66% off retail hearing aid prices and enjoy a 60-day risk-free trial, complimentary aftercare, and more!


Members Blog

Find all about the latest news
Go to the blog

Rediscover the joy of sound

About Amplifon Hearing Health Care

Find out more

FREE virtual hearing screening

New innovation