July 2nd, 2015
Years ago I used to work with many hearing impaired individuals. I helped them to find a job and sometimes coached them on the work floor as well, so they had more chance to keep the job.
My clients varied from being hard of hearing to being deaf. They all were very different, but had one thing in common: either they were looking for a job or had problems in their current job.
To find a new job is already a huge challenge for good hearing people, let alone for people who are hear impaired. With a hear impairment, many jobs in which you have to make calls or at least have to answer the phone are not available. Notwithstanding the fact that nowadays there are lots of efficient hearing aids and supplements on the market which make calling more comfortable. Also, you can make some arrangements with colleagues on a proper phone regulation. Unfortunately, too often it lacks the good will of an employer. There still is too much fear for problems, both for social problems in the company and financial problems in case something happens. On the one hand this fear is understandable, on the other hand it isn’t.
It is my experience, that Hear Impaired in general are very motivated and loyal employees. Also, they get less distracted from the talking between colleagues on the work floor and are much better concentrated. When they only get the chance.
Admitted, communication with coworkers and chefs is not always easy and it takes efforts from both sides. I was lucky to witness, that with some good will, it is possible though.
I had a client once, who was so unhappy in her job, that she contacted our office and wanted help in searching for a new job. At first, she didn’t want me to contact her superior, because she was afraid that she could leave immediately. After some good talks, finally I did get her consent. All stories have two sides and I also wanted to hear the employer’s side as well. All in all, I both suggested to coach my client on the work floor. This coaching implied, to watch her behavior on the work floor and her contact with colleagues first and trying to change things if necessary. In case of no improvement after three months, we would start searching for a new employer for my client.
The superior of my client was a bit suspicious at the coaching at first. But because I challenged my client with her behavior towards her colleagues and advised her colleagues in how to communicate with my client, slowly things started to improve. I also explained the colleagues about the hear impairment and all took the coaching seriously, my client in front. After six months, I could diminish the coaching and after a year I was able to say goodbye with an assured feeling.
Sure, the coaching of me and my colleagues didn’t always proceed as exemplary as this one, but I’m still convinced that many lives could be enriched if hear impaired potential would be employed more often. This really would mean doing a good job!