Joanne Gallacher has been to meet Sandra Pierce to find out how hearing loss has impacted her work.
A woman from Colwyn Bay wants more help for workers with hearing problems.
Sandra Pierce, 60, was speaking as latest research revealed 1 in 5 working people feel different hearing conditions have held them back in their job.
The mum-of-three was diagnosed with hearing loss more than 20 years ago.
“It was when I was 38 and at home with a very busy household and three small children, my husband kept saying you need to get your hearing tested.”
She did and was referred to a specialist.
“Back then I was diagnosed with a mild hearing loss and they think it’s a gene which skips a generation in my Mum’s side of the family and it was a complete shock.
“I’ve got the most advanced digital hearing aids and they’re my best friends I have to say."
She now has profound hearing loss and without the aids wouldn’t hear a word. She said her disability affected all aspects of her life.
“It completely knocked my confidence. When I was 38, I was completely embarrassed about having a hearing disability. I hate the word disability and I didn’t tell anybody. I felt ashamed I had a hearing disability.“
She retrained in beauty, believing working in smaller groups would help her but even that came with problems.
“The dilemma comes when you fill out application forms. Do you put I’m disabled or do you think, and I have done, I tried to wing it for one of my interviews.
"I got the job and the first day I couldn’t answer the phones and it was in a beauty spa so everybody whispered and I had to announce I wore hearing aids and it’s quite embarrassing because when the phone’s ringing and you can’t answer it you get a lot of people rolling their eyes and tutting at you because they think you’re lazy.”
She’s now got her own beauty company and coaches others to help them get their beauty businesses off the ground.
Colleagues like Clare Kingscott says little things can help Sandra, including talking slowly and allowing her to lip read.
Sandra also says she steers away from noisy areas.
Harvey Shaw is a Hearing Aid Audiologist with Hidden Hearing in Llandudno. He sees many people who are hard of hearing and worry about the impact at work.
“In the workplace it can be compromising in many ways. Lack of confidence to be asking questions and obviously we are making informed decisions and choices in the workplace so that can impact greatly.
"People are less likely to earn as much. Less likely to go for promotions.
"Some people are quite anxious about being told that they have got a loss. We have lots of ailments that we can't do anything about, this is something that we can."
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