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Support at work has helped me deal with hearing issues

21 Sep 22

As part of International Week of Deaf People, Assistant Therapy Practitioner – Dysphagia & Dietetics, Jay Maddams, who has a hearing impairment,  tells how the Trust has helped support him in the workplace. 

I have been deaf throughout my whole life, and wear hearing aids for moderate hearing loss. I consider these to be my lifeline in my day-to-day life because without my hearing aids, I’d be lost for sure.

I’ve been working for HPFT for the last four years now and I have never previously experienced the support I have received like this before. Some of these changes might seem small but make the biggest difference such as: changing my work phone to an iPhone that has hearing aid compatibility to enable me to successfully complete phone reviews and calls to care providers and support service users.

Our administrative team are aware of my hearing ability and will let me use a small quiet room to complete tasks. For example, telephone calls and meetings, rather than being in a busy office with loud noises or distractions in the background. I am also afforded time to talk about supportive measures for my hearing impairment in the workplace as well as appointments and discussing outcomes in a trusted confidential space,  which has been hugely valuable. I’m so grateful to HPFT for its support and enabling these things to be put into place.

In my daily life – not just in work, but in my personal life too,  I feel that awareness is important. It isn’t always obvious that someone has a hearing impairment and sometimes people may forget. Deafness does vary from person to person, so communication styles differ, so it is useful to double check what the communication preferences are.

We may often ask for you to repeat a sentence to ensure we heard you correctly. Sometimes people may get annoyed or frustrated, but that’s okay, it annoys us that we ask to repeat!

We often use lip reading to help understand what you’re saying, so imagine what it is like when you’re wearing a mask due to Covid-19 infection control?

We often rely on gestures, body language, facial expressions to help get a point across.

Try to speak nice and clearly and not whisper.

If you’d like to get our attention, try tapping our shoulder or waving.

Sometimes texting can be better way to communicate.

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