Georgie Barraclough: Dear Access to Work…

Posted on December 11, 2012

Dear Access to Work,

Thank you for your response to my application for equipment to assist me with hearing in the workplace. As you will be aware from my application, my main concerns are my inability to use the telephone and hear my colleagues in meetings and seminars.

I have done a little bit of research into the solutions you have suggested may work for me and am particularly interested in the 18th century ear-trumpet. Provided the model supplied extended no further than 30 centimetres from my head, I am sure I would be able to hold the speaker of the telephone to the trumpet’s widest end in order to amplify the sound.

As my hearing loss is bilateral, I did wonder whether you were planning on supplying me with two instruments, as this wasn’t clear from your letter. I have bought two small hand weights so I can improve the strength in both arms in readiness for use of my equipment, so if you do intend on only supplying me with just one please let me know as soon as is convenient and I will give one arm a rest and return one weight for a refund.

I hope I’m not pushing my luck here but I did wonder whether the ear-trumpets came in any other colour than traditional brass? I tend to wear silver jewellery and would hate to clash my metals.

With regard to your suggestion of a high-visibility vest to indicate I am hard of hearing, what a novel idea! I haven’t seen a solution as conspicuous as that since the deaf member of staff at my local supermarket was made to wear special badge on the checkout. May I propose a slight change of wording however, as your suggestion of “Speak up, I’m deaf!” doesn’t cover every eventuality. For example, should I not be aware that a person is speaking to me, becoming a bit louder may not catch my attention like a good prod on the arm would. “Poke me, I’m deaf!” would probably achieve the desired affect of raising everyone’s awareness as to my condition, as well as giving my colleagues a jolly good laugh too. Not that I’d hear them of course!

Regarding your suggestion that I try the equipment before committing to it, I think this would be wise, as I have had disappointments in the past and would rather avoid a recurrance at all costs. I am in the fortunate position of living only a 45 minute drive from the Thackray Medical Museum so please could you forward me your contact’s details and I will arrange a visit.

Thank you for your considered response to my request and for the detailed research that must have gone into finding a solution to suit my needs.

Yours Sincerely,


Georgina lives with her husband in West Yorkshire, where she works as a local government manager. She has been deaf all her life and suffered a further loss in both ears in 2012. She loves going to ballet lessons, reading, listening to music and spending time with family and friends, often over a good bottle of wine. In her spare time she is learning about photography.

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