Book on hearing loss in the workplace offers wisdom for all
Gordon Eddie and Adrian Hill’s “Breaking the Sound Barrier, Succeeding at Work with Hearing Loss” is a small but powerful book full of very effective tools for communication for everyone. Wait, what? Isn’t this a book for people who have hearing loss or people who work with someone who does? I’d make the case that the workplace success and communication strategies shared by Eddie and Hill offer wider benefit than that.
For about the first decade of my professional life, I had normal hearing and I took that for granted, of course. As a young professional woman focusing on her career, I certainly didn’t take the time to contemplate losing something I expected to always have.
Then I began losing my hearing, dramatically changing the work landscape for me. Gradually over the course of a few years, workplace tasks that had once been effortless had become daunting. Like so many people, I had to learn many workplace hearing compensation strategies the hard way, through trial and error that was sometimes embarrassing or negatively affected my job performance.
There’s no need to for people to suffer muddling through hearing loss at work on their own anymore, thanks to solid resources like “Breaking the Sound Barrier, Succeeding at Work with Hearing Loss." This book is brief (I read it in a little over an hour) but it packs a punch. It thoroughly, yet concisely covers everything from job interview techniques for people with hearing loss, keeping a positive attitude, utilizing available technology resources, being honest with oneself and others about workplace hearing challenges, building a network of people who can help with communication and focusing on one’s strengths.
Although this book focuses mainly on communication tools most commonly used in white-collar, professional office work settings, most of the information can be adapted for any employment environment.
And for you skeptics like me, don’t worry, this is going to be one of those “e-books” with six different text colors and gratuitous use of bold type and multiple fonts, desperately trying to sell you the next greatest thing. This book is well organized and professionally written in a clear, straightforward way that is both direct and honest. Personal anecdotes from the authors’ own experiences are interspersed throughout the tips, strategies and tools.
These days, I have more than 10 years of experience dealing with hearing loss in the workplace and I wear excellent hearing aids and use assistive technology when necessary. Even though I’ve “been around the block” with hearing loss, I’m happy to report that I learned some new ideas from this book.
Why do I say the communication strategies in this book are for everyone? The Hearing Loss Association of America states that about 20 percent of Americans have some degree of hearing loss and 60 percent of those people are currently working or in school. So if you don’t work with someone who has hearing loss today, odds are that you will at some point in the future. If everyone used the common sense communication strategies discussed in this book, such as seeking to understand the message then offering the idea back to the speaker to confirm the message has been understood correctly or using agendas to keep meetings tightly focused, we would all understand each other better and get more done at work.
Do yourself, your current and future co-workers and your employer a favor and take a little time to read “Breaking the Sound Barrier, Succeeding at Work with Hearing Loss."