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Hearing Impairments

Accommodation Examples

Situation
A nurse with bilateral hearing loss has been using an amplified stethoscope that requires her to take her hearing aids in and out. She called JAN seeking a stethoscope that will work with her hearing aids in.
Solution
JAN referred the nurse to a company who makes a stethoscope that can be used with a direct audio input port. The stethoscope was purchased.
Situation
A professional employee with a hearing loss had difficulty responding when "on call." The employee stated they could not be "on call" because at night she takes her hearing aids out and cannot hear the phone ring. The employer contacted JAN looking for accommodation ideas that would satisfy both the individual and the employer's needs.
Situation
JAN suggested the use of a vibrating pager or personal alerting device, and to clarify with the employee what the essential functions of the position are. The employer purchased a vibrating bed shaker, telephone receiver and transmitter to send the signal to the bed shaker. The employee could then be alerted to the telephone ringing at night. Cost $125.
Situation
An employee working in an office environment has hearing loss due to tinnitus and hyperacusis. She could not be around noise in the office environment for long periods of time.
Solution
The individual's employer provided her with a private room to work in alone. This was reported to be very effective. Cost $0.
Situation
An employer was considering hiring an employee with a severe hearing impairment to be a material handler. The employer had some safety concerns and called JAN seeking accommodation ideas for working around forklift traffic, and running machinery.
Solution
JAN suggested set paths of travel for forklifts and pedestrians, mirrors, requirement for all vehicles to stop at each intersection, strobe lights on the equipment, ask the individual if he would feel comfortable wearing a bright colored vest or hard hat, and the use of a personal vibrating pager to be activated by a coworker in dangerous situations. The employer did hire the individual and indicated the information provided by JAN was very helpful and as a result the employee is working out well.
Situation
A law firm hired an attorney who is deaf but uses speech. The employer wanted to prepare for any accommodations that will be necessary to assist him in communicating with coworkers, using the telephone and participating in meetings.
Solution
JAN provided the employer with information about communicating with people who are deaf or hard of hearing in the workplace, product information regarding TTYs and how to use the telecommunications relay system and interpreter service referrals. The employer indicated they would like to provide sign language training for staff that will be working with the attorney. The employer also noted that e-mail will be extensively used as a means of communication.
Situation
An employer contacted JAN regarding an employee who is deaf. The job requires travel and while on business, company policy allows all employees to be reimbursed for a certain number of minutes if they call home. The employer wanted to know what to do when the employee goes on business trips because when they call home the employee would need to use TTY which will take longer than the average call.
Solution
Modify the policy to allow the employee additional time due to the method of contact. The employer indicated that time and a half was provided and a TTY modem and communications software were purchased. Cost $500.
Situation
A state employer has several employees who are deaf or hard of hearing. These employees need to respond to emergency signals and communicate in emergency.
Solution
Each employee was provided with a vibrating pager that was connected to the alarm system. When the alarm sounded they were paged. Laminated note cards with communication options and flashlights to assist with signs or lip reading were also provided.
Situation
Interested in hiring a candidate who was deaf, the bank manager called JAN for assistance. The position required conversations with hearing customers.
Solution
JAN suggested that the teller and customer communicate using a TTY. Though TTYs are most often used on phone lines, JAN knew of another device to connect two units without using a phone line, a TTY trainer. With the TTY trainer, a customer and the teller could communicate by typing on the TTY keyboard.
Situation
A medical technician who was deaf could not hear the buzz of a timer, which was necessary for specific laboratory tests.
Solution
An indicator light was attached to the equipment. Cost $26.95.
Situation
A field geologist who was deaf and worked alone in remote areas was unable to use two-way radio communication to report his findings.
Solution
Text telephone technology was used to allow the geologist to communicate using a cellular telephone. Cost: $400 plus monthly service fee for the phone.
Situation
A technician in the telephone service industry used a hearing aid. The job duties included installing and repairing telephone lines, which included using a "butt-in" portable test phone that was attached to telephone lines being repaired. The test set interfered with the technician's hearing aid.
Solution
A "butt-in" test set equipped with an audio speaker was purchased that allowed the worker to test lines without having to place the test set against the ear. This device was also useful for workers NOT wearing hearing aids. In addition, the technician was provided with an amplified tone locator. Cost: $200.
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