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A Lack of Accessibility in New Zealand Workplaces, and the Hidden Cost

Accessibility for Deaf and hard of hearing people in the workplace can be a chicken vs. egg situation.

As Tamara of Deaf Unity eloquently explains:

“Without Deaf awareness training it’s less likely a Deaf person will be employed by a company, but if a Deaf person isn’t employed by a company, there’s little chance that the company will learn the basics of Deaf awareness. Catch 22.”

The challenges of hearing loss include managing preconceptions, because many employers believe that the skills an individual can bring to their career are overshadowed by their disability. Due to this, many omit their hearing loss from their CV, to avoid unfair judgement.

After arriving at work, those with a hearing loss often withdraw in team meetings when there are too many barriers to the flow of communication.

As a result, 90% of people with a hearing loss experience feelings of depression, isolation or hopelessness at work.

The frustrating reality is that these barriers are easy to remove, if people take the time to do so.

Deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders are some of the most adaptable, agile, and persistent problem-solvers because they had to learn to work in a world that is built for those who can hear.

This inclusivity problem is not just hurting the employees, it’s also creating roadblocks that stop organisations from tapping into the creativity and unique skills that these talented individuals have to offer.

The Hearing Accredited Workplace Programme aims to break down barriers and provide training to workplaces to ensure Deaf and hard of hearing employees can thrive.

At NFDHH, we have a great team who are passionate about delivering this programme.

Meet our HAWP Team

Natasha Gallardo, Chief Executive

I was diagnosed with bilateral hearing loss as a teenager. In so many cases, the barriers I have faced do not need to exist.

I see many organisations who are leaving disability policies out of their diversity and inclusion strategies because it is seen as a too hard basket. I would like to see a greater focus on this as this will benefit all in the long run.

This Programme is a great way to ensure young, talented Deaf and hard of hearing people can start their journey into the workforce with confidence.

Lorien Doherty, Community and Corporate Partnerships Manager

HAWP is a great step for an organisation to take in order to obtain the tools needed ensure all employees feel seen and heard, and are able to do their jobs to their full potential.

Hearing loss can be isolating, and it can be invisible. Creating a culture where teams feel comfortable to share their stories of hearing loss goes a long way to ensuring hearing loss becomes more understood and accepted.

Our aim is to change the culture of workplaces in New Zealand to become hearing loss aware.

During Hearing Awareness Month in March 2021, we are offering two hearing health workshops that will fit your budget:

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