Hearing loss is not one size fits all. Yes we say this all the time here at Hearing Loss LIVE! Yet in the year 2022 why do employers still think that one tool that worked for one employee, so it will work for all?
The tools vary not only based on the individual's hearing loss, but the event the employer is asking to employee to participate in.
Make sure to get in the KNOW of availble apps, caption phones, live captioning options. Bring it all to the table with your employer. And if you still need help, we are here and happy to offer your business a training on hearing loss diversity and sensitivity.
Hearing Loss LIVE! Talks, Workplace Accommodations.Julia:
Good morning. Welcome to Hearing Loss LIVE! Today we want to talk about workplace accommodations. There's a lot of misinformation around workplace accommodations and accessibility to your job and how that looks. And we hope to give a little bit of advice today on how hearing loss in the workplace and what types of accommodations and how you can ask for accommodations. Years past, I have worked in human resource. And it was for a larger company, they they were pretty good with all types of disability accommodations, but because of the size of the company and their business, turnover happened a lot. So managers don't always get trained. And I'm not telling you not to go to your manager. But how the chain of command works for an accommodation can be interesting, right? First, if you're new to hearing loss, what is your accommodation? Is it a phone? Is it Bluetooth hearing aids that have some sort of Roger Pen? I don't know. It's different for everybody. But if you're new to hearing loss, go to your manager, and if they don't have an answer, that's okay. Pester them to go to human resource, right, or to go to their supervisor who will probably go to human resource if they don't know. That's my one first piece of advice. I want you guys to talk about accommodations in your workplace. And some of the steps you had to take to get them good or bad. Because I can, I can explain it from an HR side and I can explain CART, and how you can actually have CART as an accommodation in many instances. And I want to talk a little bit about reality, and it's probably going to upset some people, but I'll save that till the end. So watch till the end. So you can talk with reality. No. Chelle, do you want to start? [clunk noises] Am I blowing you out with my microphone?Chelle:
No, Chelle, I called on ya.Chelle:
Okay, well, I left my microphone on. And here I am giggling in the background. I think so sorry about that earlier. I was not paying attention. So I was, I'm going to start with diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion are what make, make a-- well better work environment, a stable work environment, because people know that no matter what accommodation, they need to stay in the job, they're, they're going to be there for a long time. And they're grateful they're going, you're going to have a more stable workforce with diversity and inclusion. One of my probably my most favorite accommodation, was getting my desk to face the door. No, that sounds funny. But I would have people, when I first started working at the state office here, my back was to the door. I cannot hear people walking up or anything like that. And I remember arranging little mirrors on the walls, so that I could at least have some idea somebody might be coming. But even then those are just a little mirrors so it didn't really work. So at one point, they wanted to change the room I was working in and I asked at that time I said, "can my desk please face the door?" Because you know, Deaf, Deaf people, they're also startled and I work with a lot of Deaf people. They flip the lights for each other. But they would often forget that I'm deaf enough and I could, they could have done that it was me to several of them talk, you know, I'm in I'd be I focused when I work. Oh my God, I am just dead focused on whatever I'm doing. Everything else falls away. And so that's another good thing about hard of hearing people in the workplace. We are very focused and we're not easily distracted unless somebody comes right behind you and says something, woosh ahh, and they would tell me, "I'm sorry, I should have flipped the lights or something, you know, as I was walking in the door." So soon as they changed my desk to face the door, I was a lot better, less startled. And that, you know, when you when you're startled like that you lose everything you were working on. And it takes a while to get back in the mode. So, you know, when I saw him coming in, I could I could say, you know, hold on a second, let me let me finish this one last sentence. And they would wait, we could carry on.Michele:
I can't find my microphone button. You know, I'm going to say that I agree with you, Chelle. My last full time position was right before I moved to Minnesota. from Atlanta, I worked for a finance company and our office did a remodel and reconfigured our cubicles. And I went to the person in charge of that and I asked them if they could configure my cubicle so that I could see people entering my cube? And the answer was, "no, we can't do that." Of course, back then I had no idea that I had any kind of state service or anything that helped me bring that about. I didn't go to HR, because up until that time, my employer was pretty good at accommodating me. They knew I had a hearing loss. I disclosed it in my interview. And when I first started my job, I was expected to take the overflow phones, and beyond that circulation, and they got me a volume control phone. But even with that I just couldn't understand. And so I said,"Okay, how about this? How about if I manage the fax machine, and I, I take the messages from fax and take them to whoever, you know, therefore, and you take me off the phone rotation?" And they said, "Sure, that's great." But then you have coworkers are saying, "well, that's not fair, she doesn't have to answer phones," even though they know I have a hearing loss. So I really could have used some knowledge that there were state services available to me to help work with my employer and my co workers, and to help train them on issues for people who have hearing loss. You know, you tell people, anytime a new hire would come on, I would send an email, Hey, you need to know I have a severe hearing loss. I'm not going to hear you if, I'm not looking at you. So if I seem to ignore you, I'm not I can't hear you. And still I would get people running after me from behind. I had one of my coworkers got really angry with me. She was chasing me. I got in the elevator, the doors closed, she had to take the next elevator, down a couple floors. And by the time she caught up with me and you know, "I've been wanting after you calling your name." And I said, "you do know that I can't hear right?" But people just don't. They don't think that you are serious about not being able to hear because we look like everyone else. You speak like everyone else. So you must be able to hear more than you're letting on. And those are the kinds of things in the workplace that need to be addressed by your company. They need to get someone in to train company wide on the diversity in disability. And the diversity in anything because we're a very diverse workforce. And people with disabilities is the largest minority in the world. So it's not something that people are not going to run into. They're going to run into it a lot. And it's just a really important issue.Julia:
Thank you, Michele. So, you kind of point out, I think--a point about you know, your your employer working with you on changing rotation in that setting other employees doing it. From an HR standpoint, we do have hands tieda little bit, okay, whether it's right or wrong. I'm not going to you know, agree or disagree. But if a job accommodation allows you to do the job that the same person without a disability is doing, that's kind of how they're classified under ADA. Does that make sense? So if having a phone rotation is part of that job description, they need to figure out how you can do the phone. And so if and if they've chose to change that, then then yes, they need to sell have to decide, are we willing to say to the employees, you know, that's not part of Michele's job description, you don't need to worry about it. So do be aware of what you're applying for. And make sure--here's where, at the very beginning, from the first interview, you need to be honest, right? Because if you're in charge of your hearing loss, and you show that in the interview, you've already destroyed them using that as"Oh, what are we going to have to do? How's that going to look?" So I love that you're upfront and worked right with them? And how do we get state services to put more time into training, whether it's through DisabilityIN who here in Utah? I think they're nationwide to, you know, have the larger employers invested in hiring folks with disability and award winning all of that stuff. How do we Okay, so and this is not anything against the state of Utah's they have a little when, when an employer does it wrong, they send someone out to talk to them on how to work with Deaf and hard of hearing, right. I remember, at some function, I was captioning for Michelle[Chelle], them running that. And I was excited to see that they had hearing loss in that presentation. But it was not as large as it should be. It needs to be separate. Have as much equal billing as Deaf community needs for job employment. Hearing loss needs, HoHs needs for having employment, right? So how I want everybody to figure out some point, and I hope that we continue to get states involved with us to talk to them about these needs. How do we get states to make that a little bigger? I guess? I don't know. But I think it starts with you to ask for your accommodation, right? Even if you don't know what it is. You don't settle for lip reading for eight hours during a training. Period. When you do that, you are setting yourself up to fail, right? Possibly. Okay, that's my soapbox. Michele, do you want toMichele:
I just wanted to say when you start a new job go. training is a challenge. Especially if you're working on computers, it's hard to watch the person demonstrating what they need to demonstrate in your training, and then also be looking at them to lipread. And so training can be a real challenge. And I remember when I trained for that finance job, how challenging that was. And you know, the phone wasn't a big part of my job. Most of my job was on the computer. And online, we were an email driven company. We didn't use the telephone to communicate company wide. It was more for calls coming in. Just random calls. So that wasn't an issue. And then when I moved from Minnesota to my-- I'm sorry, from Georgia to Minnesota, I was connected with the career force and they are the ones who informed me about state services. And I made an appointment with the Deaf, Hard of Hearing Services Division in Minnesota. And they assured me that whatever job I was applying for, that if an issue came up or if I needed a special type of equipment or something, that they would work with that employor. They wanted to be my coadvocate to assure an employer that I was capable. And you know, people who have hearing loss are very capable participants in the workforce. You know, we have the same kinds of capabilities as everyone else. But when I came to Minnesota and I was working with a job coach, it seemed like the only jobs that I offered as disability friendly hires were for food service or janitorial. And I remember my job coach just getting so upset, because he said, "you know, look, I have these really qualified people. Not that and people who work food service and janitorial aren't. But these people have qualifications far beyond that." And so, you know, I think that's still an issue. That when you say people with disabilities, people have a very view, narrow view of what that is, and we are a very vital part of the workforce.Chelle:
This is Chelle. So I'm gonna go back to what Julia was saying about our state, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Center having an employment specialist who went out and trained people on Deaf culture, communication needs and hard of hearing needs, I did get to see that I'm not sure if it was the same time or if Julia probably saw before I did. But when I started, it was three quarters about Deaf culture, and their communication needs. And I am all for inclusion, and everybody getting their communication needs, but it only had a snippet. or hard of hearing people, and there's far more hard of hearing people in the workforce than there are Deaf. Now I want everybody to be included. So nothing against that. But you're gonna find many more hard of hearing people looking for accommodation. So I think state services could do a better job of representing the hard of hearing. Also, where I worked they have workability job fairs. So you could go talk to employers, different employers, and look around and see who is hiring and who wanted what, and I can't remember which companies now we're mainly there. But it was a good turnout. And we I think they did it three or four times a year. So you can definitely look for job fairs, if you're looking for a job. The other thing I'll go back to is like, I know Utah has DisabilityIN Utah, and that's a program where this one lady goes out and she trains people on all sorts of disabilities. And there's a DisabilityIN in each state. So you can definitely check out your DisabilityIN area and see what they have for you. One more thing, and then I'll turn it over. And that is another must for training and a lot of training is on videos. So and we had at the state office training, we had to take every two months. And we had to work on the captions on those videos quite often. Because they would be for the longer ones, they were like YouTube craptions. And they were not right. And there was times when I would get questions wrong on the test at the end, because I didn't have the right captions to the video. So I was always very good about contacting the training pupil and saying, you know, there is an issue here. And the issue could even be when you're at a training, this is another situation that I've run into where they show a presentation and it's got valuable information on it. But you're so busy reading the captions, you don't have time to look at the presentation. So you need to pause and let people look at the presentation, and then go back to talking. And another time, that same time was they said,"Okay, you write out a short essay work on this workbook. While we talk." That's not going to work for Deaf people, and it's not going to work for her to hearing people. So just a nice pause in there. It's very helpful to allow people, that's really easy accommodation, short pause.Julia:
Actually, it's not going to work for Deaf culture people. It's not going to work for hard of hearing people. It's not going to work for people who have brain injury or auditory processing disorder. Sorry, I was trying to get it out. Gotta stumble through something. So there's a lot of reasons they should slow down their trainings. I agree. And they getMichele:
I'm trying to grab on to the thought that just left my whipping through them because, you know, one of my things when I was in human resource, I was the benefits lady. So it was my job to explain the benefit package to 2500 employees, right. So this was multiple meetings where I'm going through the same slide again and again and again and again. And I'm starting to talk like this because I've been through a lot, a lot, a lot. So it, It's a good reminder, when you're building those types of trainings to put in your slide, pause, give it just a second. Or give the slides ahead of time, so somebody can look it over, and kind of have an idea. And then that always works a lot better to. Um, there's more than phones. I mean, there's tons of different services with phones for captioning. But there's also other services, not just live captioning CART, there's type well, if all you need is meaning for meaning for a meeting, there's voice writers who work remote for the most part. There's all sorts of ways to have services, for your meetings, trainings, interviews, all of that. And one of the interesting things, so this is a human resource thing to again, this is where not, I don't know how to change this without, you know, going to legislation and getting a bunch of people. But one of the things when Chelle went finally, and told the state who had been running these training videos for 20 plus years, 30 plus years, with bad captions, really bad captions at times. And nobody complained, though, she was not the first person to be using the captions. Because a lot of us, let's be honest with our hearing privilege, we don't necessarily even listen to it. We're doing other things and take the test. And, you know. So they came to me and asked, What's the standard? What should captions look like? And so, you know, I gave them a couple of places they could look up standards. The truth of the matter is, there isn't a standard under ADA, it just says it has to be captured. You have to have access to caption. That's not that-- that's wrong. Having access to caption is not getting you the meaning, right. And when it's important, it needs to be right. You know, it's going to take a lawsuit, sadly, that says, You gave me automated speech recognition that told me to go have sex with my boss, instead of go to section six. Whatever, you know, and I, that's an extreme. So I apologize. No younger viewers on this video will be marked. But it's wrong. You know, I didn't go where I was supposed to, now, I've been fired, because you did not accommodate me. And that's kind of aimed at employers. I'm tired of employers saying this is this is what I can get away with. So this is all I'm going to offer. Why are you doing that? You're leaving out a whole population that is very dedicated to working very dedicated. And we've talked in previous ones, you know, sometimes that hearing loss person doesn't even know they have a hearing loss, right? And I know bosses in HR can't say, Hey, you got something wrong. But but you know, there's just so many little tools that if they were just the pause the training, pause, right? Accommodate everybody, just make it a rule. Michele. head. One of the things that I have to do personally in my life when I need CART, is to make people understand that CART is exactly the same as sign language interpretation in that it provides communication access for the hard of hearing in the same way that sign language interpretation does for somebody who's part of Deaf culture. And so Chelle mentioned how there's not as much focus on the hard of hearing our needs, and a lot of state service agencies. And that is so true. So my new thing is saying wherever you refer to an ASL interpreter, right alongside that right there on that same spot, you need to offer textual English interpreting which is CART, or you know, if you speak English and somebody's watching internationally, it's whatever spoken language you use. But for me, I need textual English interpreting, if that makes it any clearer than CART because a lot of people don't understand that CART label. Wherever ASL interpretation is referred to, on a website or or, and, and documents or whatever CART should be right there in that same sentence, because that's what over 95% of us need. We don't typically know sign language fluently. We use captioning. And so that's my new thing, trying to make thatJulia:
Thank you. We are up on our 25 minutes. But I want to point. get any other thoughts. I do have one. We have on our glossary JAN, J-A-N, Job Accessibility Network. It is a free organization that works with accommodations for your workplace, they can work with you on how to request, they can also work with an employer if an employer goes to them and says, how do I help accommodate this, this employee. And I'm a real fan because I sat in on a webinar. And they made it clear from day one, or they made it clear from your first interview, you request CART. And speech-to-text is another name that we're trying to kind of inclusive, all. Whatever that looks like. And I'm not bashing if somebody can get by with ASR on their job, automated speech recognition, and that works for them. That is great. But that employer needs to know that is not going to be the case for every person with a hearing loss. Captel might work as a as a caption for this employee, but it might not work for this one. So what are you going to do to, you know, you should know all of these resources, at least at the human resource level. And team managers, if you don't know, go to your human resource, go to your next manager. Don't just automatically say we don't do that. Because sometimes that training is missing. ChelleChelle:
I hate the new windows menu pop up weather thing because it gets in the way of my microphone all the time. I just wanted to say that I talk about CART on our blog. So I'm not going to talk a lot about here. But there are ways on the blog, how I situated when I would use live captioning, Julia or somebody else, or when I do use the ASR. I built up little guidelines, I put it on a document for everybody to view and take a look at so you can see some of that on our blog. And I will say that caption phones were to save my hairdressing job back in 2009. But there wasn't a caption fund back then. But it would have probably kept me in the hair business if I had which would have made like two years less of heartbreak because I grieved over losing that job. But I'm also really glad that it didn't save my job because look where I am now. And sometimes maybe it was just meant for me to let go and move on it because this is my passion now. But I did use the caption phone in the office when I had to and it was a real lifesaver.Julia:
Thank you. That's That's a good thought. I'm glad you mentioned that. We've come a long ways. Probably the point right. So small business big business medium business get on board. Let's figure it out. Thank you for joining us today. As Hearing Loss LIVE! comes up on its one year anniversary. We have open some packets that are purchasable, they will be on Want more of Hearing Loss LIVE! Join us today on Patreon or Buy Patreon and Buy Me a Coffee you can visit either side. We have a QR code that will lead you to it in our podcast today. At least the video I am going to put a caveat that I don't know if I figured that out on Buzzsprout yet, but ah come visit it they have fun things we are going to start with one of our laugh tracks. We have some pretty cute outtakes before we have video that may or may not be for younger viewers, we'll see what I decide. And with that, we will have some of our material one which is Bill of Rights. Hearing loss comes with a Bill of Rights. "You have the right to." And it will be with all of our packages to help you with your proactive self in hearing loss. We have our Talk About it Tuesdays that are always free. We love to get together once a month and talk with the community about things they done to be proactive in their hearing loss. What's bothering them. Sometimes it's just a plain it sucks to be not hearing right, deaf, whatever. We also have events coming up this fall, sorry, I lost my train of thought with a car that just rumbled by passed my house, we'll be doing coffee tours this fall. So watch for memes that tell you what towns we're in and when we can visit with you and your local coffee shop. We will have some video and some, we hope, candid conversation about how to be better with hearing loss. As we continue through the fall, we will have more and more purch-- purchasable packets. So again, visit our sites and if you don't want to package but you like our content, please donate. We are bootstrapping it. We have no investors. We chose to be a business. Yes, we know that means a for-profit business. We're not asking-- if you give $1 a month. Great, 10 cents. I don't care if you've got it, share it so that we can continue into our second year. We hope to be around for a really long time and we really want to offer as many free services as possible. While we convince states that they need to hire us to train their staff. Yes, that is a goal. Anyways, thank you for joining us today. Have a great weekend. Me a Coffee.