Information For Important Work Decisions
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Hearing Impairment

Hearing Impairment

Adjust Physical Demands: Talking and Hearing

Adjust Environmental Conditions: Noise and Vibration

Avoid Temperaments: D, I, E, P 

Rationale: Depending on the extent of the loss, time of onset, and prognosis, impairment of hearing affects communication ability. A person with a hearing impairment may be able to talk well but not hear well (or at all). If there is some residual hearing, avoid noisy environments to protect the residual capacity from further work-related injury and to improve speech discrimination from background noise. If hearing aide(s) are used, avoid loud noise and frequent vibration since background sounds will be amplified.

The DOL did not differentiate among talking and hearing beyond the frequency with which either is required. Different communication requirements exist between worker and supervisor / coworker(s), worker and the public, and worker and the telephone. Temperament adjustments should be evaluated in the context of these communication challenges, not from the perspective of a personality dysfunction.

Impact: Study the impact of choosing each of the selected variables. It may be better not to be completely restrictive, keeping in mind that assistive technology can sometimes help a great deal with job modifications and accommodations. 

 

Noise levels are measured in decibels. Click here for some resources.

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