Jenny McAllister: Help fill in my survey for hearing aid users in Scotland

Posted on February 8, 2016

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I could not believe my luck when I was offered the post of research intern at Action on Hearing Loss, Scotland.

A couple of months prior to being offered the four month internship post, I had just finished six years in higher education and was keen to find a job, which I knew would be difficult due to work shortages and especially challenging for someone like myself with Ushers.

I would have to switch from disabled student allowance to access to work, and I was aware that many have had problems with Access to Work and getting the support they need to be equal in the workplace.

The internship I took up was provided by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO). The SCVO work in partnership with Inclusion Scotland and the Scottish Disability Equality Forum to provide payed internship opportunities for graduates with disabilities, in a variety of occupation sectors.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 09.54.04At the start of the internship, a representative from Inclusion Scotland visited me at my workplace to offer advice and check support would be in place. They also put me in touch with other local interns, which was great as I’ve been able to share experiences with them and provide/receive support.

I have been busy getting stuck into a research project which involves asking D/deaf and hard of hearing people who use NHS hearing aids across Scotland to fill out a short survey.

The charity wants to see how effective audiology departments across Scotland are in terms of their deaf awareness, their provision of communication support when it is needed for appointments and also their signposting of patients to community-based hearing aid support, lipreading classes and assistive equipment.

As a deaf hearing aid user myself, I have had reasonably good experiences with my local audiology department but it is important that people from every community get the chance to say what is going well and aspects of service that could be improved.

When the survey closes on 14 February, I will collate and analyse the responses and produce a written report of the findings and recommendations!

The last few months at Action on Hearing Loss Scotland have been fantastic; it has been refreshing to enter such a friendly, ‘deaf aware’ workplace and feel fully supported. My confidence with team work and my communication skills have improved massively. My work has varied from being out in the community at ‘Hear to Help’ hearing aid sessions, distributing surveys to being in the office doing research, data input, and problem solving with colleagues.

I would encourage deaf people to widen their job search and consider internship opportunities as they are a valuable experience, help build up confidence and offer you a taster of potential work environments! If you are interested in finding out more about disability equality internships in Scotland, please check out the following website: http://www.scvo.org.uk/jobs-employability/equality-internship-programme/

Also, if you are living in Scotland and an NHS hearing aid user, please take part in our short audiology and hearing services survey via the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NHSaudiology_Scotland

If you would like a paper copy, large print or BSL, please contact our office via email at scotland@hearingloss.org.uk or phone 0141 341 5330. Please note that surveys can be completed anonymously and are completely confidential.

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Posted in: jenny mcallister