Gareth, NSW Mentor
Hi I’m Gareth Jones. I was born with normal hearing. My father was profoundly deaf from Otosclerosis – bone growth in the middle ear just jambs thing up. He worked as a Manual Arts School Teacher. His hearing aids were crude by today’s standards. I don’t know how he managed with the noise of woodworking lathes, furnaces and metal working machinery.
He would apply for promotions. When he came home from the interview he would tell us that the interviewers told him he couldn’t do the job because he
Hearing tests in my late teens revealed I too had Otosclerosis. I was told my hearing would deteriorate.
Remembering my Dad’s experience I decided that I wouldn’t tell anyone I was hearing impaired. I went into denial and refused to wear hearing aids.
Because I was unable to properly socialise or participate in conversations/meetings, my self-esteem and confidence went into reverse, as did my work standards.
Following many years of denial, keeping my deafness a secret and on the brink of losing of my career I realised that it was time to wear hearing aids and tell my employers, friends and workmates that I was deaf. I was lucky enough to have an employer who was prepared to give me the opportunity to prove that I could do the job as well as the rest of the staff.
I was promoted within the company and sent to the UK to open a new branch office. With that experience I decided to start my own business and, after only 10 years, my business was purchased by a Public Listed Company. That company employed me and I became the CEO of their largest division. I had over 500 staff.
I realise now that the key to overcoming the problems associated with deafness is owning the fact that you are deaf, and building confidence and self-esteem by telling people that you are hearing impaired.
Mentoring with HFY enables me to share some of my experiences and hopefully help young people overcome some of the challenges of life in the hearing workplace.