Hearing loss can have a profound impact in many areas of our lives - at home with family, in the community, at school or at work.
Hearing health and the ability to communicate effectively at work can impact how successful and satisfied we are with our employment. Ensuring the right support is in place to manage hearing loss and finding the right solutions can make a world of difference in breaking down communication barriers.
Robyn Gaisford, from Kingston, Ontario, works as an in-home support worker for adults with physical and/or intellectual challenges. She assists them with their daily tasks, keeping them safe during the day and overnight, and providing companionship and emotional support. Robyn is passionate about her work and dedicated to supporting her clients.
Robyn’s hearing loss began in her late teens and has progressively gotten worse over the past decade. She explains, “Over the years, my friends, family and colleagues started to notice that I was not fully comprehending or engaged in conversations. Then my hearing loss began to impact my work. It affected how I communicated with clients and agency staff. It even limited the type of clients I could take on.”
Robyn’s hearing loss meant she often could not hear a client speaking as well as doorbells, telephones, bed alarms and even fire alarms. Since she also could not hear the bed alarm during her night shifts, she had to stay awake overnight to ensure her clients were safe and well looked after.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Robyn was determined to find a solution that would allow her to continue working. She decided to contact Canadian Hearing Services (CHS) where she was connected virtually with Nicki McShane, an Employment Services Consultant with CHS.
Nicki worked with Robyn to identify her unique challenges and needs. She arranged for an audiology consultation, helping her to explore different options for communication devices, and even helping her secure funding for the new devices. “With so many services being closed during the pandemic, I was concerned I would not get the help I needed to continue to work. Instead, I was easily and conveniently connected virtually with a CHS Employment Consultant, who went above and beyond to help me overcome my challenges with hearing loss and make my employment future look so much brighter,” explains Robyn.
With help from CHS, Robyn is now the proud owner of new hearing aids and an alerting device that she uses in client’s homes, ensuring her clients are safe during the day and night.
As an essential worker, Robyn was able to continue working throughout the pandemic, providing much needed services in her community. Her interaction with her verbal clients has improved significantly. Robyn’s newest client, a soft-spoken man with dementia, is no longer frustrated that Robyn cannot hear him. He also benefits from Robyn’s companionship, especially during the stay-at-home orders.
“I am so very grateful to hear the sounds many people take for granted – birds singing, people laughing, and the sound of my new grandchild babbling away. The support I received from CHS has not only improved my employment situation – it has allowed me to participate fully in all aspects of my life. Thank you CHS!” said Robyn.
If you are Deaf or hard of hearing and require help finding a job or need support to help succeed at a job, contact CHS Employment Services: CHS.ca/employment-services-for-job-seekers.