Hard of hearing? Stand up and be seen. Hearing? Listen and learn.
Chances are, you know someone who is hard of hearing. They may not admit it, but they cannot hear you speaking, especially when there is a lot of background noise. Even if you know people with hearing aids or cochlear implants, hearing speech in noisy environments may still be extremely challenging. It can be frustrating when you try to maintain a conversation in these kinds of circumstances. Instead of being frustrated, why not ask the person their preferred method of communication?
Did you know…?
People with hearing loss may communicate by:
- using a sound amplifier, like a personal Pocketalker, personal FM system, or Counter Loop that works with t-coil hearing devices
- using a wireless microphone compatible with their hearing aid or cochlear implant
- lip reading
- live captions of words spoken to them (smartphone app, or live caption service)
- pen and paper
- texting or email
- using a Voice Carry Over Phone or TTY machine for telephone conversations
Customers, students, employees – no matter which category you fit – you have the right to communicate with others on equal terms. Disclosing your hearing loss is not a shameful act. It is truth-telling. It is self-care. You are informing your boss, your teacher, or your bank that you require an accommodation to fully engage in conversations that affect your learning, finances, job performance, and more.
Guess what? Under the Alberta Human Rights Act, businesses, schools, and all other organizations are required to provide you with your requested accommodation. This is not about drawing attention to yourself. It is about educating the people around you and getting the communication tools you need to live your life in the same way hearing people do.
Calling all Government Offices, Business Owners, Financial Institutions, Nonprofit Organizations…Literally Everyone
Creating an inclusive environment starts with you. Maybe you are currently working on your workplace Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan? Have you considered:
- Policies/actions to provide communication access to everyone?
- Do you accept telephone calls through a Relay Operator or Video Relay Service?
- Do you allow inquiries and appointments via email or text?
- Are there flashing or vibrational alerts to fire alarms, knocks at the door, telephone ringing, or alarm clocks at your location?
- Do you offer online classes, courses, or meetings with live captions?
- Is your front desk equipped with an amplification device like a Counter Loop?
There are many questions to ask. Contact Deaf & Hear Alberta for answers.