Paul lost his hearing when he was four years old after contracting meningitis. He was moved to a school with a partial hearing unit and spent the rest of his education with other pupils with similar hearing loss.
He said: “Growing up with hearing loss was hard. It made it awkward to communicate socially and as a result I became very shy and withdrawn. I didn’t want to communicate with others as I felt people might make fun of me and I was embarrassed.”
Paul’s school recommended that he go straight into full time work rather than continue with education and he started a programme at Quest ITeC involving a variety of different work experience placements.
In 1989 Paul was offered a job at the National Coal Board, now British Coal. Paul has now been there for more than 30 years!’ to ‘Paul now works at Engie, where he has been for more than 30 years!'
In 2018 Paul was referred to the Action on Hearing Loss Workable programme. After visiting Paul at work, the Employment Support Officer referred him to Access to Work, a government funded scheme which can pay for special equipment. They recommended that Paul would benefit from a Roger Pen to help him hear his colleagues more effectively.
Action on Hearing Loss supported Paul to use the Roger Pen, and delivered two communication tactics training sessions to his manager and colleagues. This gave staff the skills to communicate effectively with Paul and empowered him to be open about his hearing loss.
Paul’s Employment Support Officer referred him to Sensory Support who visited his home to do an assessment. They installed a flashing fire alarm and doorbell and a TV listening system, which means Paul can now enjoy watching his favourite shows and listening to music.
Since joining the Workable programme, Paul has completed two marathons and started his own blog, proof that being deaf does not have to hold you back. Despite being advised against further study, Paul now has a degree in Business from the University of Ulster and is enjoying his work.
If you are deaf or have a hearing loss and need support in work, please contact our Workable team. We can visit your workplace to provide one to one support, training, and information for your employer. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 028 9023 9619.