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Supporting people who have hearing loss

Man and a Woman having a sign language conversation over coffee

Moving On Tyne & Wear support people from across the Tyne & Wear region who are currently unemployed and have a health barrier, disability, additional learning need or autism get into employment, training or volunteering.  Today, on the International Sign Language Day, we want to take the opportunity to discuss how we support those with hearing loss.

When a participant is referred, or self refers to our programme, we always ask what their health barrier is.  This allows us to make the appropriate provisions from the start, do our research and ensure the participant is comfortable.  For those with hearing loss for example, we might ask whether the participant has a preferred sign language interpreter, and how they prefer to communicate digitally so we can contact them in a way that is suitable to their needs.

We’ll then reach out to the participant via their preferred channel (this could be text message, email, or Facebook messenger) to initiate contact, introduce ourselves and arrange our first face-to-face meeting.  Moving On Tyne & Wear offer a blended approach, whereby we meet our participants both digitally and in person throughout the course of their time on programme.  We work with their preferences, comforts and around their goals.

When meeting a participant who has hearing loss face-to-face we always ensure we’re going somewhere they’re comfortable and familiar with, however it also needs to be in public space, yet private and COVID secure.  Once we’ve found a suitable location, we then need to book a sign language interpreter.  We try our best to book an interpreter our participant knows and has worked with before as this helps to put them at ease and create a comfortable atmosphere.

As with any participant, what happens next is down to them.  We don’t like to overwhelm people or push them too far.  Taking things at their pace is what makes us different from the other employment advisors out there.

Some of our past participants who suffer from hearing loss often commented that they feel at a disadvantage, that they’re missing out on life and that employers look past them.  We know this isn’t the case, and there are lots of Disability Confident companies across our region.  However, we also know that everyone is different and just because there is a policy in place it doesn’t mean it’s always suitable for our participants.  This is why we’ll continue to push the boundaries where we can and ask employers whether there are any adjustments that can be made in order to help our participants.  This might, for example, come in the form of offering a participant a work trial as opposed to an interview.  For those with hearing loss this is a great way to build confidence and rapport with staff and prove they can complete the job themselves without having to rely on an interpreter.

Moving On Tyne & Wear know how to support their participants when transitioning into the world of work, but we also know how to help companies once they employ someone with a disability.  We can signpost them to Access to Work which can help them to understand what adjustments may be needed and provide any relevant training, at no cost to them.  All in all, Moving On Tyne & Wear offer a well-rounded service, tailored to our participant.

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If you, or someone you know, suffers from hearing loss and are keen to find employment then please consider getting in touch.  Our service is voluntary, completely free and won’t impact on any benefits currently being received.  We can help find suitable employment within a company that understands your needs and will willingly make the adjustments required to create a happy, safe, and stable working environment.

 

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