What is a hearing impairment?
People who are deaf or have a hearing impairment have some form of hearing loss, which they may have been born with or may have acquired later in life. Deaf, with a capital 'D', refers to the culture or community of people who are born with no hearing or with limited hearing.
There are over 200,000 people with some form of hearing impairment in New Zealand and between 2500 and 7000 people who identify as 'Deaf'. Some people use hearing aids of one form or another. Some people use New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), an official language of New Zealand, or lip reading to communicate.
How do deafness and hearing impairments affect people in employment?
With training and accommodations there are very few jobs which Deaf and hearing impaired people cannot do. There is a wide range of equipment and human support (support workers) available to enable people to work. The telephone, crucial for many jobs, is accessible to Deaf and hearing impaired people through NZ Relay.
Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand provides advocacy, services and information for Deaf people. It has a sign language interpreter booking service which it provides on a fee for service basis to organisations.
The Sign Language Interpreters Association of New Zealand provides a directory of qualified members around the country.
The New Zealand Sign Language Teachers Association can tell you where to find a sign language class in your area.
The National Foundation for the Deaf is a non-profit organisation for New Zealanders with hearing loss. Amongst other information, they provide guidance on communicating with Deaf and hearing impaired people.
NZ Relay provides access to telephone services for Deaf, hearing impaired and speech impaired people.
Deafquip is a company which provides electronic products for use in the workplace and home.