NatWest is one of a growing number of organisations making hearing loss a priority.
Manchester-based credit manager John Roberts experienced sudden hearing loss in 2001. In the early years, John had some difficult times: “If you’re not being included in a conversation or situation, you can sometimes feel you don’t want to be there and you’d rather just walk away.”
Breaking down barriers
Life changed for John after NatWest arranged a workplace assessment with our Accessibility Solutions team at RNID. The assessor gave practical advice on what equipment, support and reasonable adjustments would break down the barriers he was facing at work and now he’s thriving.
“My life has changed for the better”
The assistive technology that was recommended had a huge impact, especially the conversation listener: “I couldn’t hear the phone, take part in meetings or share in office banter. Now that I can, my life has changed for the better, inside and outside of work.”
Greater deaf awareness
The workplace assessment report recommended deaf awareness training and John was keen involve his colleagues: “RNID arranged a half-day session for my team. According to the post-training survey, the awareness of my team has gone from 2 to 10 and lots of them wanted to take things further – like learn sign language. I think it shows there is a desire out there to understand more.”
Since then, John has become a deaf awareness advocate at work. He’s joined Enable, the employee-led network that aims to promote awareness of disability at NatWest. As well as supporting others, it has boosted his wellbeing: “I’m a lot happier. It’s given me a goal – if I can help one person in this bank understand, or I can help a team be more aware of deafness, then it’s been worth it.”