Stephen A. Hallenbeck

As the summer season begins to wind down, Labor Day is suddenly upon us, reminding everyone the end of summer is here. To many, Labor Day signifies the end of summer, back-to-school shopping, and even putting away those white pants until Memorial Day.

According to the US Department of Labor (DOL), Labor Day is a remembrance of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday is an annual national tribute to the contributions we have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Without hardworking Americans, our country wouldn’t be able to function well. Some of them are hard-of-hearing, and, at Beltone, we know how vital it is that we talk to hearing aid users about how well they’re hearing at work, what their environment is like, and what we can do as audiologists to help them.

For some people, managing their hearing loss means visiting their hearing care professional regularly, which can place a strain on their relationship with their employer. That’s where audiologists can help—by utilizing the latest teleaudiology solutions like Beltone Remote Care. This latest technology allows users wearing Beltone Trust hearing aids to receive comprehensive remote fine-tuning, wherever they are. Users can simply request and receive fine-tunings in between their scheduled hearing care appointments. With a simple touch on an app, they can send a request through the app to their hearing care professional and install the update whenever it’s convenient for them. Rather than take time away from work, those with hearing loss can receive their fine-tunings on their time and schedule.

However, taking time off isn’t the only issue we audiologists need to ask our users about. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise every year. In 2007, approximately 23,000 cases of occupational hearing loss that were great enough to cause hearing impairment were reported, according to the CDC. Additionally in 2007, approximately 82 percent of the cases involving occupational hearing loss were reported among workers in the manufacturing sector alone.

Some industries are more damaging to your hearing than others. Some of the loudest industries for employees to work in include manufacturing, construction, carpentry, mining, entertainment and nightlife, airport staff, and shooting range marshals. Thankfully, steps can be taken to help prevent hearing loss within these work environments. As an audiologist, you can suggest to your patients in these industries that they use ear protectors or custom-made earplugs when they are surrounded by extremely loud noises.

In the meantime, millions of American workers already struggle with hearing loss because of their jobs. To help your users communicate with those they work with, Hear-it.org has some tips that you can share with them:

  • Ask colleagues to look directly at you. Explain that keeping eye contact drastically improves your ability to understand those talking to you.
  • Ask teammates to not over-emphasize facial expressions or lip movements as this can reduce communication.
  • Ask those you work with to speak clearly and at a moderate pace. Clarify that they shouldn’t cover their mouth or mumble.

These tips can help your patients navigate hard conversations with their coworkers and employers, making them feel more comfortable in their own work environment. In turn, they will feel like a vital member of the team and will be more likely to continue working to their fullest potential.

As audiologists, it is our job to make sure users are living life to the fullest, and that hearing loss does not get in the way of that. That means more than just fitting them with hearing aids. As you meet with those living with hearing loss, be sure to ask them what their work environment is like and how their hearing is affected by the work they do. If they work in high-risk industries, encourage them to get their hearing checked annually. By asking these simple questions, we can create personalized preventative measures to reduce the likelihood of further hearing loss, especially in industries where hearing loss is most prevalent.

Stephen A. Hallenbeck, AuD, is a principal audiologist in global audiology. Founded in 1940, Beltone is part of the GN Hearing Care Group, utilizing advanced technology to produce hearing aid instruments in the United States, Canada, and over 50 countries worldwide.

Source: Beltone, GN Hearing Care Group

Image: Beltone, GN Hearing Care Group