National Hearing Awareness week – March 1st-7th

Hearing impairment no barrier to long term career

With National Hearing Awareness Week upon us, it’s a great time to reflect upon diversity in our communities and the workforce. Understanding hearing impairment and the people living with hearing loss is the first step to embracing this.

Disability Employment Partner, Job Centre Australia supports local businesses across NSW and QLD to recruit valuable, diverse staff, and leads the way by valuing an inclusive and diverse workforce of their own.

Job Centre Australia (JCAL) Trainer Sharon, first came to JCAL in 2007 as a candidate, looking for assistance to find work with an inclusive employer on the NSW Central Coast. Meeting Sharon and understanding her skillset, it was quickly identified that she had the skills and attitude that JCAL looked for, when hiring team members. The journey that lead her to employment with JCAL however, wasn’t an easy start.

Sharon was born with only 5% hearing. Going undetected until the age of 5, Sharon struggled throughout her schooling with limited resources available to people with hearing impairments. It was not until Sharon was in her late 20’s that she was fitted with hearing aids for the first time.

Working in a factory for twenty years, Sharon relied on lip reading and was very isolated from her peers. Working in a loud environment was not ideal for Sharon and she knew continuing in her role would further deteriorate her hearing and overall wellbeing due to the isolation.

This is when she decided she needed to seek assistance from specialist employment partner, JCAL, who could help her to find work better suited to skills and who understood her disability. Sharon commenced employment with JCAL 13 years ago, was fitted with appropriate hearing aids, and has thrived in her role ever since. Building strong relationships with participants through shared experiences of barriers to employment, Sharon has been a guiding light in many success stories. ‘I enjoy working with different people and helping them to achieve their goals. I also enjoy speaking with employers to help them understand how to communicate better with people with hearing impairments creating a diverse and inclusive environment for all.’

‘JCAL are a very supportive employer. My co-workers have encouraged me to be myself and I feel very comfortable in my role. I would encourage people with barriers to speak with their employers and discuss the best ways to succeed in their role,’ Sharon, JCAL Trainer.

Today there are a lot more resources for people with hearing impairments. If you feel your hearing deteriorating, feel dizzy or that your balance is off, book in and have your hearing tested. They are free and should be completed once every 12 months.

This Hearing Week, Sharon’s top tips for inclusion are:

  • Speak to people with hearing impairments the same way you would speak to anyone else.
  • Communicate better
  • Keep eye contact
  • Don’t talk too quickly
  • And finally, if you see someone who may be isolated include them

‘JCAL are privileged to have a wonderful team member on board, in Sharon. Her lived experience provides knowledge and guidance that other candidates can identify with. Sharon is a role model for inclusion in the workplace and has worked alongside many employers to better understand and appreciate the benefits of a diverse workforce. We are very proud of Sharon’s achievements.’ Said General Manager of Operations, Sarah Stratford JCAL

If you’re an employer looking to increase diversity and inclusion in your workforce, speak with your local JCAL team. Give them a call today, to see how they can help. 1800 466 046, email or visit our Employer information page.

To find out more about National Hearing Awareness Week, visit