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Hearing loss - reasonable adjustments, advice from heads/ex-heads/SLT/ex-SLT wanted?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Gemini25, Jul 18, 2015.

  1. Gemini25

    Gemini25 New commenter

    Hello all,

    I am in my mid-twenties and I have recently had my hearing tested. I have been informed that hearing aids may be beneficial and so I have been referred. I will have some hearing aids fitted hopefully some time within the next month (over the summer holidays). My hearing test was done during the last week of term and my line manager asked how it went. I told them that hearing aids are being looked in to as they could be beneficial but that's all I know at this point. We have a new head starting in September and I'm not too sure what the roles of different SLT members will be in September - all we do know is that responsibilities are being shifted around a bit and that all will be confirmed in September. Previously the DHT was the person who staff would go to with these concerns, deal with what the school could do to support etc. This may or may not be the same in September.

    Just wanted anything you can share on the following:

    Does anyone use hearing aids in a school environment? If so how have you found them? What parts of the job do you find are easier/more difficult compared to not using them? I know a lot depends on personal circumstances so it may or may not be similar.

    How should I inform the school about this and who should I inform?

    Should I inform my union?

    Do I have any 'rights' where this is concerned - follow up, check-ups, hearing tests may be needed - can time off be refused?

    Anything else you think might be helpful to me is welcome.

    Have a good summer.

  2. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    My thoughts are that this would be a recognised disability - my initial suggestion is that you speak to Personnel/HR folk that advise your school and as for referral to the Occupation Health dept. They would meet you, access your relevant medical details with your permission and then be in a position to make recommendations to your new HT on what would be the sorts of adjustments and support the school would need to give to enable you to continue to work effectively.

    If it is a recognised disability (and I'm sure it is, but others may well know better than I do!), you have many more "rights".
  3. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    Hi Gem, I'm a bit older than you and first got aids at the end of last year. The main problems I have are focusing if there are too many sounds, e.g. trying to teach with loud music from the hall. Also figuring out where any whispering is coming from! In meetings, I always sit near the front but on the side so I can see as many faces as possible - I never realised before getting aids quite how much you rely on watching people speak to hear them properly! My SLT and staff and pupils have been great - trying to remember to face me and get my attention when speaking, checking if I've heard things if the environment is noisy etc.

    Depending on how severe it is will mean whether you can qualify as disabled or not. However, do get a disabled person's railcard, which you can get if you wear aids no matter how severe your loss. There are also places you can contact who may be able to give you help at work, but I feel that generally I haven't needed any physical changes to my environment like loops and once you get used to having aids you will be fine. I was very open with the kids and I know many of them passed the info on to their parents, meaning I didn't have to make a big announcement or anything. I've also got used to explaining myself to other children around school who may not know.

    Good luck and please contact me if you feel you need to :) x
  4. Gemini25

    Gemini25 New commenter

    Thanks for the information Sillow. It's a relief to know that there are others that teach using hearing aids without any problems except getting used to using them - which is to be expected. I will be the only hearing aid user out of all our staff and pupils, so it's really nice of you to offer that support - appreciated :)

    Are you primary or secondary Sillow?
  5. Gemini25

    Gemini25 New commenter

    Hi all,

    Just dropping back to say that I've had my hearing aids fitted and so far so good in terms of using them. They have said that it might be more tricky to use them in a busy classroom but that there are lots of options in terms of the settings they can put on the hearing aids themselves, other listening strategies like what Sillow described (making sure people know they have my attention for example) and equipment that can be helpful such as loops. Overall I'm feeling much more confident with them.

    Just thought I'd update. Thanks for your comments.


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