Hearing loss and career

Posted by ozlin423 @ozlin423, Jul 13, 2020

Hello, my hearing loss has worsened over the past years. My job is basically customer service. I have not been able to answer phones for a few years. Thankfully my team covers me on that. But since covid and mandatory masks my job is a nightmare. I recently stepped out of my position as department lead as I can not give it 100%. I explained the situation to my boss who offered to put me on nights. My problem has been my new lead, doesn't keep to that schedule. I have thought of just quitting but I am 2 years til retirement and have a pension. Are there laws that would help? Does my company owe me special consideration? I am at a loss as to what to do. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Hearing Loss group.

Absolutely do not quit! You've earned that pension woman!! Your employer needs to make reasonable accomodations for you per ADA. Get some legal advice, as YOU are in the right. As long as your hearing loss doesn't "foster chance of harm or death" or something like that wording, depending on what state you are in I suppose, but they can't fire you, so do NOT quit. I've been in this position too and I dd decide to quit. I just turned 50 few months ago and I am unemployed at the moment. COVID crap is making me anxious as ever about applying for jobs. (I do office/clerical btw) and I am not too keen on going to an enclosed office environment just yet. Best advice is learn your rights and hang in there!

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Contract HLAA. Also your local bar association for attorney specializing in disability law And employment. Do not leave.

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@ozlin423 Answering calls is the most challenging job for someone with hearing loss. I wish text and email was an option for business but it is not. You may want to request a captioned telephone. You can do some research yourself by contacting CaptionCall.com and CapTel.com and ask if their phones will work with your company phone system. Not only do these phones provide captions, but a headset can be plugged into them and they work with Bluetooth. This may or may not work for you but it is worth trying.
Tony in Michigan

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Hearing loss is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, you have to know what you need in order to do the advocacy and inquiry that you need to get support. You might want to check with the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Office in your region, or your state office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Captioned phones have been mentioned. They work well. You did not say whether or not you are using hearing aids. If so, that's good. If you have them, do you have Bluetooth or telecoils? You might find that connecting a wireless microphone to whatever devices you are using can help. No question about it, the mask issue is very hard for people with hearing loss. There are masks available with transparent mouth pieces, but it's not we who need them. We need others to have them. That could help with your co-workers though if that's on of your problems. As others have said, don't quit. Be proactive. HLAA chapter members can be very helpful if there's a chapter in your area. http://www.hearingloss.org Unfortunately, most are not meeting currently due to COVID19, but some are communicating via video conferencing. The best advice that hard of hearing people can get is to be open about your needs, find other hard of hearing people to talk to and ask questions of, and don't think you are a lesser person because of your invisible disability. The technology available today is so much better than it was even a decade ago. You just have to know it's there and how to obtain it. Again VR may be worth checking out.

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@tonyinmi

@ozlin423 Answering calls is the most challenging job for someone with hearing loss. I wish text and email was an option for business but it is not. You may want to request a captioned telephone. You can do some research yourself by contacting CaptionCall.com and CapTel.com and ask if their phones will work with your company phone system. Not only do these phones provide captions, but a headset can be plugged into them and they work with Bluetooth. This may or may not work for you but it is worth trying.
Tony in Michigan

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@ozlin423 And the other good thing about captioned phones is that they are free. The federal government covers the cost through fees they collect from everyone's phone bills

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Hi, I am making a suggestion here to "my boss who offered to put me on nights. My problem has been my new lead, doesn't keep to that schedule."

1. I suggest you , go to your current boss,explain your circumstances and ask if they can grandfather in the old boss' schedule as that was workable for them (and thus for the company)
2. If that does not work, go up the chain of command to their boss

Usually people do want to accommodate. Good luck!

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Masks posing a problem with health care workers
Hello, I am an L&D RN who has been struggling with hearing as a result of COVID 19 and mandatory masks in the work place. I am looking for suggestions to help with my hearing loss. I wear hearing aids but with the use of masks I am struggling to hear providers, coworkers and patient. Currently I have asked my hospital to provide me with an accommodation to keep me working in OB. They have not been able to provide me with an accommodation so I have been taken off the schedule and am now doing side projects. Also, I need an updated pair of hearing aids and cannot afford them as they are priced at $2500/3500 a piece. Any information on funding for these devices would be appreciated.<br />Elaine Clark</p>

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Hi @daisyg74 Thanks so much for joining Mayo Clinic Connect As you will see I have moved your discussion to an ongoing discussion about hearing loss and the problems that masks are causing with those who suffer from hearing loss. I also added your conversation to the hearing loss group if you would like to follow them as well. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/hearing-loss/ This helps you connect with other members that have similar experiences. Have you thought about the option of the clear masks, is that something they allow in the OB? Have you discussed any of this with your HR representative?

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@daisyg74

Masks posing a problem with health care workers
Hello, I am an L&D RN who has been struggling with hearing as a result of COVID 19 and mandatory masks in the work place. I am looking for suggestions to help with my hearing loss. I wear hearing aids but with the use of masks I am struggling to hear providers, coworkers and patient. Currently I have asked my hospital to provide me with an accommodation to keep me working in OB. They have not been able to provide me with an accommodation so I have been taken off the schedule and am now doing side projects. Also, I need an updated pair of hearing aids and cannot afford them as they are priced at $2500/3500 a piece. Any information on funding for these devices would be appreciated.<br />Elaine Clark</p>

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Hi @daisyg74. Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect/Hearing Loss Group. What kind of accommodation did you request? The mask issue has become a serious problem for people with hearing loss. Even without formal training, we all lipread and depend on facial expressions to comprehend speech. There are masks available that have clear 'windows'. They might help if the people you work with could use them. Have you tried using a phone app like Live Transcribe or Otter ai? I realize things are different in a hospital setting, but those are possibilities. Have you contacted your state's Vocational Rehabilitation Office? They might be able to assist you with the hearing aid cost.

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@daisyg74

Masks posing a problem with health care workers
Hello, I am an L&D RN who has been struggling with hearing as a result of COVID 19 and mandatory masks in the work place. I am looking for suggestions to help with my hearing loss. I wear hearing aids but with the use of masks I am struggling to hear providers, coworkers and patient. Currently I have asked my hospital to provide me with an accommodation to keep me working in OB. They have not been able to provide me with an accommodation so I have been taken off the schedule and am now doing side projects. Also, I need an updated pair of hearing aids and cannot afford them as they are priced at $2500/3500 a piece. Any information on funding for these devices would be appreciated.<br />Elaine Clark</p>

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Hi Daisy, What is L & D? If your hearing is not more than moderate, have you considered Costco with its lower prices? Regarding funding this website gives you contact information and more for your vocational Rehab office: https://www.hearingloss.org/hearing-help/financial-assistance/state-agenices/ Let us know what happens in your search. A an essential worker I wonder if you have easier access to help.

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