This week our blog focuses on Deaf Awareness Week with a blog from The HR Dept founder and owner, Sue Tumelty, who shares her own experience to help increase awareness.
Why do some firms and professional practices make it so hard for me to give them business? It is not just me they are turning their back on, it’s the 10 million people who are, like me, deaf or hard of hearing – and that’s a lot of business.
The likelihood is that some of your staff may be experiencing hearing loss but are not aware of it, or they may be too proud to go and get help. In my experience, men are far vainer than women about wearing hearing aids.
Health and safety regulations do set noise limits in the workplace, so have yours checked to avoid liability later. Hearing loss is a disability and an Access to Work grant will provide funding for specialist equipment.
This week is Deaf Awareness Week and a great time to see how you can make life easier for your potential customers and staff. Forgive me, but here are some of my own heartfelt requests:
- Being deaf is frustrating. I don’t want to make a fuss, but when I don’t understand straight away please don’t be rude – after all I am deaf not daft!
- Don’t make pathetic jokes when I tell you I am deaf – saying “pardon” is not funny.
- If you have a hearing loop system, make sure it works. Hint, hint, National Rail!
- Confirm appointments by text or email, not telephone calls.
- If you have to make a call speak slowly and clearly and be prepared to talk to another named person acting on my behalf.
- Look at me when you’re speaking, I lip read so if I can’t see your lips then I can’t hear you.
- Train staff to be deaf aware. There are lots of courses available through Action on Hearing Loss and other hearing charities.
- Provide hearing tests for staff.
- Persuade the government to support lip reading and signing courses. Click here to find out about Action on Hearing Loss’ campaign, Read my Lips.
Above all LISTEN to us. We will hear with our hearts and open our purses.