"Tales from the workfloor"
In this section, everyday experiences at work or at the workfloor of people with hearing impairment are shared.
A hearing impaired job coach for hearing impaired people.
As a kick-off for this new section, I would like to tell you something about my work as a job coach.
Support at work.
First of all, I always had an intake conversation with my client and with the employer, the direct boss and/or colleagues.
In these conversations I collected information. The central question for me was: Where were the problems, according to those affected, and above all: where were no problems and were they doing well?
Depending on the situation and the seriousness of the problems, I visited my client at work once a week to once every 4 weeks.
Sometimes I gave a lecture on hearing impairment, how do you deal with this as a colleague or how can you improve communication, during my first visit or supported my client in his/her lecture.
Sometimes it was enough just having a talk with my client. In this conversation it became apparent how my client functioned at the workplace, whether agreements were kept or not and whether something still had to be corrected or learned. If necessary, colleagues were approached or other measures taken.
Sometimes I also just observed a few times.
But most of the time I also worked with my clients. I simply did the same work as my clients. From this experience, I noticed that when I worked with them, I was usually better able to assess how the client was working, I was better able to get to grips with what was going well, and I was also better able to correct or teach the client something. I was often able to explain to colleagues how they could improve the tasks they gave to my client or adapt them to the working environment.
I have also practised situations in role-playing from time to time so that my client could learn to deal better with certain situations.
Sometimes I also recorded the role plays on video and watched them together with my client. This was often very surprising for my client. because it mostly showed what happened to him/her in such situations and how it affected their work colleagues.
I also did some advice on workplace adjustments (tools to improve safety or communication). One example is a teacher who was particularly disturbed by the noise in school because of his hyperacusis. In this case, I suggested in the classroom where he mostly taught to lay floor carpets, hang curtains and, as far as possible, decorate the wall.
Job coaching with hearing impairment
As a job coach, I never really had the feeling that my own hearing impairment was affecting me in my work. On the contrary, I have always regarded it as an advantage because my clients have mostly trusted me as a person with the same hearing loss and I have been able to communicate to employers from my own experience as well.
I was also aware that I was not only a job coach for clients and employers, but also a role model.
When my hearing deteriorated further, I was still able to do my job, but it cost me much more energy than before. Telephoning and meetings became much more strenuous.
My own employer tried very hard to support me as much as possible at my workplace. So I got a tool for meetings and conversations and shared an office with only one colleague instead of 2.
Although these measures were good and useful, they were just not enough for me. The weekends were too short to recover and finally I decided to work only 4 days instead of full time until my move to Switzerland.