Hearing tips from Henry

By Luisa Bustos, 4 December 2017 , Comments

Henry has a hearing impairment but he doesn’t let that hold him back in a noisy kitchen. Through various work experience placements, including in the kitchens at Sydney Southwest Private Hospital and Crossroads Hotel in Casula, Henry has learnt some strategies to help him and his work mates – despite the noisy exhaust fans, ovens, and other appliances found in a busy kitchen.

Here are his tips (they apply to almost any workplace):

  • At your first shift, tell your supervisor and team mates about your hearing impairment and the ways they can help you. It’s important to be upfront, assertive and speak up about the situation.
  • Ask your team mates to talk directly to you when explaining tasks and jobs.
  • Ask your team mates to speak slowly if you don’t understand them or they speak fast.
  • Always questions if you missed something or didn’t understand what your supervisor or team mate said.
  • If it’s really noisy and you really can’t hear, ask your supervision to write down the instructions so you can read them and reply.
  • If there is a radio or loud music playing in the background that can make it hard for you to hear, ask your supervisor or team mates if the volume can be turned down or minimised while you’re working.

What’s next for Henry?

Henry is determined to achieve his goal for finding and keeping a job related to cooking, baking or working in a commercial kitchen. Although he has enjoyed work experience in larger hospitality kitchens throughout 2017, he unfortunately hasn’t yet been successful in getting a paid job despite several applications.

While continuing to apply for suitable jobs, Henry is now also looking for an apprenticeship at a bakery where the workplace may not be so noisy and busy. He says he also is interested in working as a barista in a smaller café/restaurant (using his barista qualifications), but he’s open to any opportunities that come his way.

With only two weeks left at the Northcott Vocational Skills Program this year, Henry says he is looking forward to continuing to learn more job skills with Northcott next year. Over the Christmas break, he says he will keep looking and applying for jobs through Seek, while also considering new training and courses to improve his resume. He is also looking forward to starting a new volunteering role at Bunnings in the near future, through a connection with Go Volunteering.

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