Environmental Sound Machines / Tinnitus Maskers / White Noise Machines
Environmental sound machines, also known as sound conditioners, help block out extraneous noises that are often found to be distracting. They can also be used to reduce stress in the work environment. Devices can include those that create persistent masking sound to relieve stress from tinnitus and otherwise drown out unwanted sounds.
Employees who experience limitations in concentration may need a flexible schedule in order to work optimally during hours of increased attentiveness. Flexible schedules can also be used to have a period of mental rest in order to refocus and reorient into his/her work. Examples of a flexible schedule would be adjusting starting and ending times of the workday, combining regularly scheduled breaks to create one extended break or dividing large breaks into smaller segments, and allowing work to be completed during hours when the employee is most mentally alert.
Folding Wall Partitions and Room Dividers
Folding wall partitions and room dividers can be used to separate a space in which an employee works. They can be portable and allow for flexibility in creating smaller spaces within a large working area.
Extraneous noises can be very distracting. Noise from radios, office equipment, traffic and employee conversations can make it difficult for someone who is hard of hearing to focus on important sounds in the environment. To block extraneous noise, sound control products such as carpeting, hanging baffles, wall panels or cubicles might be used. If possible, discontinue the use of personal stereos or provide the employee with a space free from extraneous sounds resulting from copy machines, faxes or printers.
Noise canceling headsets and headphones designed for listening tasks use a combination of passive soundproofing and type of technology called active noise control to reduce exposure to unwanted background noise and improve the signal to noise ration when listening to music or another sound source through the headset. Headphones and headsets of this type usually have a small battery door built into one of the ear cups.
When purchasing a noise canceling headset, be sure that you are purchasing the correct type for the task at hand. Some headsets that are advertised as having noise canceling microphones are intended for speaking rather than listening tasks. These only have noise cancellation in the microphone portion of the headset and do not have a battery on the ear cup.
Telework, within certain fields, can be an excellent alternative for employees who have conditions that make it difficult for them to leave their home or reliably travel to a place of work. Employers should consider if a job can be made compatible with telework for their employees and communicate their expectations and requirement for the job to be performed out of home. Allowing work from home during worksite or office construction; extremely hot, cold, or inclement weather; or parking renovations could be a reasonable accommodation.