When Lindsey Gedge contacted us before a recent event to let us know that she has a hearing impairment, we learnt some valuable lessons on making the Powwow accessible. Lindsey kindly offered to share her thoughts on making events easier for those with hearing impairments. Over to Lindsey 😊
My experience at the Howwow
- Make no assumptions – it was instrumental to me that I was asked by the organiser if I would be comfortable working in a group and this made me feel confident in raising my concerns. Talking this through made me realise I could try using my hearing pen in a slightly different way than I have previous experience of.
- Make it really easy for people to let you know in advance so you can plan – I was introduced to several people who would be leading the groups. This gave us both the opportunity to voice any queries before the day started and made it feel less intimidating to me asking for extra help.
- Never underestimate the desire in groups of people to make sure everybody’s experience of an event is a great one – I need not have worried. I was absolutely blown away by how kind people were. I really felt I was part of my group and I was able to take lots of new knowledge and ideas away with me that ordinarily I would not have been able to do. It was refreshing to have felt included, instead of isolated.
- The technology available – the hearing pen was a revelation to everyone! I was able to apply for a grant from the DWP who paid for both the pen and the training. You can find out more here. I wish I’d had one years ago but it means I can now engage and participate with groups of people, whereas previously I wouldn’t have been able to.
Top tips when communicating with a person with hearing impairment
- Please catch our attention before speaking
- Please speak clearly, and, ideally, project your voice (rather than shout)
- Please understand that having a hearing impairment is exhausting and tiring, therefore our concentration levels do get affected
- Above all, please be patient
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you so much to everyone for their kind assistance. It has given me the confidence to use my hearing pen again, especially if it is a Paraplanners Howwow event. I very much look forward to attending next year!
Thanks again for sharing Lindsey. See you at an event soon 😊