National Disability Awareness Month

Celebrating All Abilities in the Workplace

Did you know that October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)? This 72-year-old national campaign is held every October to help raise awareness about employment issues for disabled Americans — while simultaneously celebrating the variety of diverse contributions they provide. With more than 1 in 8 US workers living with some degree of hearing loss (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), knowing the ways you can support your employees, coworkers and colleagues with hearing loss is an invaluable tool to possess.

Unfortunately, in addition to its effects on psychological well-being and interpersonal communication, hearing loss can also influence a person’s employment status. In fact, one unsettling finding the Marketrak VIII Survey revealed is that, “while people with the mildest hearing loss show little or no drop in salary compared to their normal hearing peers, as hearing loss increases, so does reduction in compensation.”

But as the US Secretary of Labor, R. Alexander Acosta stated, “Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs. Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition and drives innovation.” This is one of the main notions of this October’s NDEAM and a value we treasure at Sonic. So, here are five ways you can celebrate every individual within your workplace for his or her abilities:

  1. Show support. Feeling understood and protected are fundamental human needs. Creating a place where any of your employees can connect and receive support from others with similar backgrounds is crucial for fostering a strong, valuable work environment.
  2. Educate your employees. Ensure that your employees or coworkers are aware that inclusion of all people is a commitment that needs to be held strong. From disability workplace trainings by local organizations to NDEAM’s informal educational events such as brown-bag lunch discussions or even disability etiquette materials, the number of ways you can educate, and raise awareness in your workplace are vast.
  3. Provide a toolkit for success. Use resources to help your employees connect with all people — clients, coworkers and friends alike. In fact, the Hearing Loss Association of America has an Employment Toolkit which provides various strategies to utilize in the workplace for both employers and  employees. From tips to communicating with a person who has a form of hearing loss to human resources strategies, setting a foundation that accommodates every individual in the workplace will inevitably lead to success.
  4. Build Relationships. Participate in Disability Mentoring Day, a national effort to “promote career development for students and job seekers with disabilities through hands-on career exploration and ongoing mentoring relationships,” pioneered by the American Association of People with Disability (AAPD). Choosing to support, celebrate and build relationships with those who value hearing means the entire hearing health and hearing loss community can continue to thrive.
  5. Give back. Show your support of National Disability Employment Awareness Month by making a post on social media about the ways #InclusionWorks. Spread the word through posters at your office, or even donate to a foundation that supports the hearing loss community like the Hearing Health Foundation. Every effort counts!

At Sonic, we don’t just want those who have hearing loss to hear better, we want them to understand their hearing better. And we envision a world where all people can enjoy the sounds that enrich everyday life. That’s why we are dedicated to making every journey towards better hearing a successful one, and ensuring every person in the hearing loss community has never-ending access to unparalleled guidance. By providing real solutions to those who help make that possible and being a constant resource for support — for hearing healthcare professionals and hearing aid wearers alike — we are making Everyday Sounds Better, for all.

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