Intergenerational Deaf Forum – Work

Welcome to the second part of the Intergenerational Deaf Forum. The topic: Work.

What are your experiences, deaf and hard-of-hearing people, with working and looking for jobs?

Version with translation into international sign (IS):

[Tomasz]: In the whole of Poland unemployment is around 5.1%, But in terms of people with disabilities, it’s about 23-25%, and among deaf people it is about 70-80%. These are the official documents. Without taking into account black labour. It is not known what this looks like outside of official data.

[Eugeniusz]: 70-80% – a lot!

[Tomasz]: 70-80%! Question for you: what are your experiences, you or your friends? In general, what are your experiences? Are friends, colleagues satisfied with their work, or is it rather just an obligation, because “I have to work”, it’s not my dream, I just have to work, to earn. How do you assess that?

[Dominika]: I have two perspectives. I worked as a career counsellor and I have employed people with disabilities and I am also a person with a disability. And at the time, when I was working as a counsellor, there were deaf people coming forward to work, but unfortunately only for cleaning, for the position of security guard or for housekeeping worker. Nevertheless, even there they had problem finding work, because employers, however, didn’t want to have deaf people in the company. This was related to the fact that example, they would not hear the machine, they won’t hear the fire alarm, say in a shopping mall, or even a security guard who is deaf person, how is he supposed to protect the such as citizens or other matters.

Also I, as a person with a disability I was looking for a job for a long time. This is actually in Poland – I was working in Germany on a contract employment contract – but in Poland it is my second employment contract, where I could find employment, in a sheltered workshop. I couldn’t t find a job anywhere. I was working as a barista, I worked at different jobs. However, I didn’t support myself, but I didn’t make it and it was the communication barrier was too strong.

[Tomasz]: Okay, please.

[Bartosz]: Before I say, I wanted to ask: 70-80% unemployment among 6 million (hearing impaired)?

[Tomasz]: Deaf, only.

[Bartosz]: So six million …

[Tomasz]: With the ruling. Who has officially a disability certificate, which is about a million people, that’s 70-80% of that.

“I have hearing loss” on my CV? Job or pension

[Bartosz]: That’s a lot. In my experience it’s like this, That when I started looking for a job, it was very difficult indeed. In my case, as I send my CV to various places, with the information that I have a hearing loss, practically nobody writes back. Perhaps they have no experience with hearing impaired people etc. Whereas when I crossed out that sentence in my CV, that I am a person with hearing impairment, just a normal CV, then a couple of people (companies) started contacted me, and they are inviting me to recruit and they only find out during the interview they find out that I have a hearing impairment. And they are very surprised that you can talk to me normally and so on. Also, there is an obstacle here, when it comes to recruitment.

On the other hand, I have spoken to various friends who don’t have jobs. So out of curiosity I asked them, whether they want to work, whether they are looking for a job. Mostly, most of my friends answered, That they are afraid to find a job, because they don’t want to lose their pension. And it’s so absurd a little bit, That it’s either work or pension. And they don’t want to lose their pension. And it’s so stupid, Because some amount of salary… so that you don’t lose your pension, and here employers don’t always listen and they always exceed. This causes them to lose their pension and they are afraid to lose their pension, and the pension is necessary for them, so that if they lost their job, then the pension would come back. And sometimes it happens that if they start to work, they lose their pension – that’s sick. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say, but this is a sick system, but that’s how it works here in Poland.

[Marek]: This one colleague told me that she sent a CV and they invited her to a personal meeting, live. “You’re the one who can’t hear! Aha, well then we can’t take you on”. And this girl read well, she was deaf, but overall she read well, she wrote well. She had no problem with that, “We are very sorry. I’m sorry, we can’t, because you can’t hear, because for example can’t answer the phone and I’m sorry, we can’t accept to work”. And then deaf people feel discriminated against.

[Tomasz]: OK. Please.

[Robert]: Previously, when I didn’t have a job, I signed up for the project, I went for a job interview with the company, I asked what the conditions were for deaf people, for people with disabilities. They said 7 hours of work, Weekends off. I asked, I inquired. He explained everything to me. I signed the employment contract, then, when, I came to work it turned out that I work 12 hours, Saturdays and Sundays. I said, “what do you mean, earlier we talked and there was something different. It is such a scam”.

[Tomasz]: Agnes.

[Agnieszka]: My experience, general -. of course I have friends … but whatever. In the beginning, when I was employed I first had to participate in the project “Activation of disabled people” and were looking for people for this project. After completion, I started looking for a job. A lot of people were applying for jobs, but they didn’t write in their CV that they were deaf. CVs were without this information. It was often repeated. It was only at the meeting that it turned out, that it was deaf. But before that, nothing on the news. If I write that I am deaf, I will not get an answer. Whether it’s because of deafness, or prejudice, or lack of awareness – I don’t know.

[Tomasz]: Wait. Please.

[Paulina]: Very often I have just I’ve encountered this kind of problem, That people, not only deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf, but also with different disabilities, are very often afraid to inform at the stage of sending their CV, that they have, for example, a hearing impairment. And only during the interview recruitment process it turned out or even later – that is, during the work, when they had a clash with reality, that they didn’t understand the messages, That they didn’t understand, for example, how they received telephone calls. And very often such employer nevertheless was a bit disappointed by the fact that he was not informed earlier. At least that’s what I heard.

But there was also the other side of the coin, such that the employer specifically took on a probationary period persons with hearing impairment, to simply say “Thank you, but…”.

I have a friend like that, who has a very extensive CV in terms of internships, a lot of three-month internships and no employer wants to take her on, on the grounds that she is so poorly … if she writes, it’s beautiful Polish, but people don’t understand it, because she has a little bit of articulation problems, also because of her disability, due to paralysis of the face from the past. And she is very disappointed, because neither in her profession she could not find a job, nor in a job of any kind, which would allow her to survive with dignity to survive until the first one.

Lip reading vs masks

[Karolina]: Still such I noticed a perspective, because by the time the pandemic, it was known – worse (bad), But I had the impression, that during the pandemic, it got even worse. Due to the fact that people working were using masks and, for example, people with impaired hearing have to read lips. And e.g. at one time I was working just in a restaurant and there were one and a half thousand customers going through. Everybody had a mask and I had a mask, and still in the catering there is great noise. That was a problem. So I’m very happy that they they abolished the obligation to wear a mask, So it’s a little bit back to (the state) before, but you can still see the trend – problem finding a job.

[Tomasz]: Did you want to add something?

[Eugeniusz]: Well, that’s right. 70-80% nationwide.

[Tomasz]: That’s the official number.

Employment of the deaf in the past – what did it look like?

[Eugeniusz]: That’s what I’m surprised about. Now I see that young people are sending their CVs over the Internet, and before that in the 80s and 90s there was no CV required, there was not this problem. For example, I dreamt of working as a turner or a locksmith, then after the interview I was employed on a trial basis, for a month, and if I did my job well, then I was accepted. And now you need a nice opinion, a nice CV, it makes no sense to me! I’m surprised. I thought that as I am a deaf person, then my hearing colleagues would look, at my abilities. Unless they had a previously deaf employee and it was difficult to make contact, In the society hard of hearing and hearing – are a bit surprised. I’m sorry, I’m so open, I’m not ashamed. I don’t understand — deaf has qualifications and they didn’t hire him. I was surprised. I said: that’s it, because that’s normal, that deaf people have a bit like that, that they are closed. I, for example, like I don’t know, I admit it, and deaf people don’t, they keep it in. This is a communication problem, there is no such frank exchange. And then I understand everything. And deaf people don’t do that, that’s why there are such communication barriers, problems. I feel like there’s this barrier all the time. And here are the two looks. Right here, for example, that just in case, I don’t put it on my CV, That I’m hard of hearing or deaf, because they think I’m inferior. They also have the same problems.

Hearing or deaf – who is the better worker?

[Tomasz]: Okay. I have an additional question: Is it fair to say that hearing people are better workers, professionals, and deaf or hard of hearing are worse?

[Eugeniusz]: Exactly, here an example of working in the Warsaw area, About 30 people work there, I was working there but not as a a locksmith but a furniture fitter, There were various locksmith machines there. About 10-12 deaf people worked there, the hearing ones were less. The director liked deaf people, but it was just this one director liked deaf people. He knew he had no problems with machines, with computers just somewhere in the deaf community. It all depends on the company, whether they like it, or they don’t like it. It depends. And they’re still just as happy today. That’s why it’s a tough, tough situation.

[Tomasz]: Aga.

[Agnieszka]: Well, and here it’s hard to compare, because it’s an individual thing, whether a person has that knowledge. In general, what is my experience? Hearing people the same way can be good Or not good. It depends on the person. In the same way here, the communication barrier communication, it’s also people. It’s about, what people think, about awareness. There’s always this thing that if you’re deaf well then you’re stupid or impossible-“I wouldn’t be able to be deaf”. And that’s the situation here.

“You can’t be a doctor, you can’t be a lawyer, because how can you help people if you can’t hear?”

[Paulina]: I wonder, to what extent certain professions are NOT for people with hearing impairment, for the deaf say. For example, being a pilot – having responsibility (for the lives of) hundreds of people in an aircraft, and whether a deaf person can be a pilot or not? And for me that’s kind of the question … Well it’s hard to answer, but it seems to me that it’s rather not, because it is really reaction important, communication with the airport. I don’t know what you guys think about this, but there are some competitions like this, about which it has been said in the past, That ‘you can’t be a doctor, you can’t be a lawyer, because how can you help people, if you can’t hear?” But now there are statistics like this, That more and more people are deaf, who are hard of hearing are lawyers, are doctors. It’s harder – fact. And the problem is not, that people with disabilities have certain limits, limitations, but the problem is that society has imposed these limits on us.

[Anna]: That it doesn’t allow you.

[Pauline]: Yes, exactly. And this is where the problem is, that we are actually functioning in such a world of a little medical model, that they are trying to to rehabilitate, to cure, But they don’t think the other way, to adapt the environment to our needs.

The situation of the hearing impaired in Poland vs. abroad?

[Pauline]: And for example, there are two situations like this: foreign and Polish. I have a friend who works in Canada as a nurse and she is fulfilled in this profession. She has the adapted conditions to be a nurse – special stethoscope, for example. You know, it’s a little bit difficult in terms of communication, because it’s noisy, you have to react and so on. But she made it, she’s a nurse.

Second situation from Poland: I have a friend, who has taken up nursing studies. The lecturers and a few other people said: “You’re not fit to be a nurse. because you are deaf, hard of hearing. How can you take care of patients, if you don’t understand, you can’t hear. You have to be responsive.” And here it seems to me that this is also this change in public attitudes, as to whether you can do given professions or not – this is the first thing.

And the second thing, though, is that predisposition. Nevertheless, you have to individually answer the question for yourself: “Am I suitable for this profession?”. “I’m disabled, so I can’t do it.” just in terms of: “Do I have the the competence, the skills to do this?”. For example, in the case of being a pilot: Am I capable of being a deaf pilot? Am I able to jump over these limitations, that are associated with it, That, for example, I will not hear an announcement alarm from the airport?

[Mark]: One more thing, the work. There’s a hearing person, there’s, say, four, four hearing people. And now the question is, right? It’s easier for the hearers to communicate. We know quickly how to follow a command. It’s different with deaf people. We write and think. And the hearing people look at that time and don’t know, whether that person understands or doesn’t understand. And so they further explained. And okay, there’s this problem. It’s a little bit so it takes time, to contact somewhere a hearing person with a deaf person, that hearing people have somewhere easily made quickly. That’s the difference between deaf and hearing people.

Deaf = only working alone, not in teams?

[Jolanta]: In my opinion, when it comes Deaf, hard of hearing, schools, vocational schools, usually have majors like that, that can pursue a profession, but single-sex. Without such a team, like a car mechanic, cook, computer graphic designer. This is independent work. And here, in these targeted competitions teamwork is not required.

And by reference, this is a handicap on the part of the public, not hiding, because in my past, my first job was an internship at the municipal office and it was not extended to me because of that, that I simply could not answer landlines. This does not change the fact that the work office work was reliably performed. First and foremost is the fact inability to talk on the telephone. Well, it is, frankly, such a humiliating feeling, it’s such a restriction …

[Eugene]: Can’t you talk on the phone? And you see… barrier. [Jolanta]: …and here, as I say, for the deaf it’s a lot of restriction,

[Jolanta]: all the more so because there’s a lot of competition, but for them … (inaccessible).

Answering phones at work for deaf, hard-of-hearing people

[Paulina]: Can I answer in relation to these phones?

[Tomasz]: Sure, please.

[Paulina]: That’s the problem sometimes that, for example, why can’t you make phone calls? Because they are not adapted these phones to your needs. For example, in America very popular are video conference phones, the kind with subtitles. And just a deaf person, or hard of hearing, can carry out conversations thanks to these very subtitles, or let’s say a sign language interpreter. And there is precisely no such thing in Poland. And that’s why there is now this thought on the part of the employers: “If you can’t make phone calls, well then you’re not fit for the job”. It turns out that 90% of jobs is based on calling sometimes.

[Karolina]: Well, I would add elements like this, e.g. Polish deaf people, there was this couple in Poland, they couldn’t find a job and they went to Iceland. And what? It turns out that one girl found employment as a Zara manager, at a clothing shop, and the boyfriend in turn was as a chef, cook and they were both just flashing, not talking. It shows that you can, though, you just have to pull off a little bit these international standards to Poland, which is simply to invite experts, employers. And let them share their experiences. And introduce this trend and standards, that could be (introduced) when employing people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

[Tomasz]: Sure. There you go.

An employer who knows sign language?

[Veronica]: It seems to me, that if the employers, knew at least a little bit of sign language, it would already be so much easier. Not even that advanced, but at least the basics, because at least that barrier would disappear, to open up to that person at all, to communicate something to her, in order not so that it’s not to completely exclude her, but that… Even if the employer can at least a little bit of sign language and communicate basic information, then I think that’s a lot.

[Tomasz]: Sure.

[Dominika]: I think…

Who should make the changes – the employee or the employer?

[Tomasz]: May I? Your experience shows, that there is always a problem, a barrier. Lack of understanding, empathy, little awareness about abilities, about professionals regarding your professions. So the question: how do you change that? Do we expect and demand from the bosses, or should I be the one to start changing?

[Eugeniusz]: Once the Minister of Health, Ms. Kopacz, did not agree with issuing driving licences to the deaf. If someone could not hear at 5m, did not get a licence. It was such strong discrimination. I’ve had my driving licence for 30 years and no problem. And now they wanted to take it away from me. They wanted to take it away from me. It was a horrible situation and I felt, That it was such a big discrimination. There were petitions being signed, and Mrs. Kopacz ended this subject. Well, that also deaf people can’t drive trucks, they can’t drive cars. Oh mother! One deaf person got that tir driving licence. I used to dream of doing that as well.

In the Netherlands, a lot of deaf people work as lorry drivers, and here in Poland there was such a barrier. One deaf person succeeded, and now more and more deaf people working as a lorry driver, like 20 people are already working in this position. Well, we ourselves are trying to to get around these barriers, not just stopping on that barrier, we have to keep our heads up forward, we have to make an effort.

[Agnieszka]: I want to add, my brother, hearing impaired, is now working on a tirade, and before that it was really very hard. Why? C+E driving licence? I think it’s an E. He was going to the doctor and he kept he kept getting refused. Four doctors refused him permission to work. He could talk on the phone, he talks – actually he’s almost like hearing. How was that possible? I can say, that he is like a hearer, maybe 30 decibels has a hearing loss, was like hearing. I wonder where the barriers come from. Doctors don’t allow such people to work as drivers, but he normally he can hear after all.

Should people with disabilities know their own rights – labor and other rights?

[Tomasz]: Should people with disabilities know their own rights – employment and other rights? Should they? Yes or no? If, for example, we write in the CV, like Bartek and you said, that I am hearing impaired or deaf, then you know in advance that this CV will not be accepted. And how do you get around this? I have a super CV and I add this information, how do I do it?

[Dominika]: For example, That I am a hard of hearing person, But I will highlight in my CV that I have very good competence, even though I talk via FM. Over bluetooth! Sorry. I am talking over bluetooth or, for example, I am a person or, for example, I am hard of hearing or deaf, but that doesn’t change the fact that I can work in a group being a computer graphic designer. That is, to use my competences.

[Veronica]: It seems to me, maybe I’m wrong, that if you write in your CV: “I’m hard of hearing or deaf”, then I think the employer might be frightened, that they can’t cope with such a person. I think it’s only after a face-to-face meeting, then it is better to talk openly about it.

Benefits of a hearing-impaired or deaf employee

[Tomasz]: How do you do that before the meeting? How do you persuade? How to write? What to do?

[Paulina]: I would suggest, to turn what we don’t have turn into benefits, that is, for example, to say that yes, I don’t hear, but I don’t gossip. It doesn’t bother me, that someone around me is working and I’m just a very efficient worker and that’s a huge plus. And it seems to me that you have to in a slightly different way Showing, however, the upside of being… Okay, it is known, we have it worse etc. But still, it seems to me, that we can all find some advantages of being a hard of hearing person, even though, I don’t know, me, for example, by not being able to hear, then I can read lips and sometimes that can be helpful at work as well. Why not?

I, for example, had this situation, when I was working abroad, that I was talking to another person and the distance between us was several metres. And instead of walking from one person to another person, I just read it out what the other person was sending me, signals by talking and I was just colleagues I was telling, that “they said we have to do this”, instead of going back and forth like that. Also you have to look for the positives of being person with a hearing disability.

But that’s this problem, this nuance, to inform the employer already at the stage of sending the CV. Because actually if our CV is not accepted, then we are not able to prove that they have discriminated against our CV, on the grounds that they can give a thousand other reasons, and it is known that discrimination overt discrimination is punishable … I mean, not that it’s punishable, but we just we can appeal against it.

[Tomasz]: Aga.

[Aga]: I recently started a company, I’ve been working in this industry for a while now, but the clients encouraged me to start a company. I recently set up a company, focused on translations, on sign language classes. One client suggested, That I should teach Polish Sign Language. And I immediately said, that in the classes I don’t use my voice at all, then the client was surprised And why if I am deaf and I’m not going to speak. These people need to develop, if they want to sign well. Oh no, you don’t have to, you must speak, okay, we can’t. That means that you do not want to cooperation, because it is impossible. I run my classes that way. It shows me that actually these people have no awareness.

For example, in these situations deaf people have some needs of their own. For example, on their CVs they record the fact that they are deaf. They can actually refuse it because of the reason that it’s a deaf person. If I give a CV and I get a reply that they invite me for an interview job interview, fine, we start talking phonically. And you have some other articulation voice. Nothing was written down, It was not written down, of course in the CV. And then I admit that I am a hearing impaired person. And ok. And then he doesn’t answer anything anymore such a person, but the conversation goes on normally.

[Tomasz]: I have heard – in addition to these proposals of yours – as one deaf person wrote in the CV, what financial benefits does the boss have (by employing a deaf person). We have such a time that every boss counts every penny. That’s why you should know, that if you write in your CV: “If you employ me, then you have an 8k PLN subsidy from PFRON (National Found for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled). Second: “every month you get extra 1200-2000 PLN”. The boss, reading such a CV, he will reject hearing people, because he has the benefit of a deaf employee.

[Eugeniusz]: Yes, that’s what happened in the plant …

Employee with a disability = 7-hour workday

[Bartosz]: Just that there is one problem, I talked to different people. Of course they mentioned about it being a possibility, to get funding from PFRON, that is employment. But in turn the employers got a bit scared, because when they found out that they are disabled, that they have a certificate, they automatically they have to employ for 7 hours, and sometimes they need for 8 hours. So there are both pros and cons here, because, for example, such grocery shop, they mostly have two shifts of eight hours each, and if he has to employ someone with a disability, then the person who is disabled is forced to work 9 hours, because this disabled person cannot extend his or her (working) time. These regulations say that.

[Tomasz]: I don’t remember exactly. If the disabled person agrees, then he can work 8 hours.

[Various persons]: The doctor has to give consent.

[Eugeniusz]: They are referring to those 7 or 8 hours, I remember when I used to work in security. I used to work 8 hours, then 7, then they offered me an extra hour, 8 hours. And people didn’t want that, to get less pay than for 8 hours. It was difficult to communicate with the boss of these deaf people, after which there were many, a lot of work and a lot of deaf people. And we knew that we couldn’t work any longer, that we were working 7 hours at a time. Well, and the managers were asking themselves, and extend a little bit, work longer. I didn’t really have that. Some people just stayed longer, But it was a separate contract of commission, 7 hourly was full time, and there was a separate contract of commission.

And so I worked for a year and I feel, that I was at a bit of a loss, because it doesn’t count towards the pension and so on. They knew themselves, so it was already a bet protected, that you can’t do that. But the deaf needed money, so they agreed to these conditions. It’s really a difficult situation. It’s difficult unless sometimes they took it on later.

[Tomasz]: How do you solve that? First of all, I think… Please.

[Karolina]: I think that through some campaigns, that you are implementing as the Deaf Forum – that will be one milestone. Whereas once again – raising awareness, because I have worked in various places worked and very few people know, still, even though I’ve been hitting with training courses, some webinars we have, some organisations, it still needs to be probably take and cuss to the employer’s head, or just to the employee. Well, you actually have to do brainstorm a way out of this.

[Anna]: To get into just this kind of environment of ordinary employers, whereas he doesn’t do this kind of actions only in his environment, just to get it out to other employers, more outwardly, and not so much in your bubble.

First the internship, then the job?

[Bartosz]: I would just like to so invoke my experience, how I got the job in my first corporate job. This is so I wrote a CV, That I am a deaf person, but in addition I am also sending my portfolio, because I graduated in architecture, so I am enclosing my portfolio, so they can see what kind of work I’ve done, so that they would appreciate a little bit and in addition I did a student internship there, so that’s also a way of additional development, now that I’ve done the practice, and have no objections, then they should have no problem with me, and that’s how I got the job, this way.

[Tomasz]: And you know what? We, as the Deaf World Foundation, have made a series of videos “Deaf with passion”. Have you watched? Several films. It turned out that deaf people were sending us (videos of how they do): paintings, earrings, etc. Then, after a year, they thank us, because they have more orders. Simply put, thanks to the dissemination.

[Eugeniusz]: Now the deaf community, the deaf community is also lack of awareness. We also don’t have access to full access to television, e.g. the topic of deaf athletes Deaf good athletes are not known. Such is the wonder of deaf athletes, it’s an unpleasant matter. So not only deaf, but also deaf people can. They can many things. They can on a par with hearing people. But the information is not there. The media says very little about it. It’s changing a little bit now, they’re learning now. Now there is a TV translator. Now there is such a wake-up call, because everything is very late is happening, but it’s changing.

[Tomasz]: Please.

Hearing – deaf. How about combining the two communities?

[Anna]: I even had this question, because that’s what it’s all about, that kind of …. how to say it… this is a closed environment, e.g. a club for athletes who are only deaf or deaf only, but to maybe try to to do some kind of action like that, to combine? After all, some sports or competitions can be combined in this way, that skiing is connected and hearing and deaf people, then it would be easier… I think somehow… Because even I, here, this is the first time I’ve actually I’m dealing with with people who are totally deaf, deafened and yet you can get along, it’s just a matter of being so willing. I myself did such a project photographic project about implanted people And I met with such a person, who said, that when she made the decision to implant, it was the deaf people broke contact with her. It just seems to me that more of that maybe willingness on each side, to mix things up a little bit, try to mix those environments.

[Eugeniusz]: Exactly, just the implant. I just, when my son was born, he was profoundly hearing impaired. My mother-in-law urged us to get an implant, I was generationally I’m deaf. I don’t feel that these barriers are is home for me, normal. Hearing mother-in-law, and so the implant will speak well. We didn’t really broadcast On the same wave. I wasn’t very comfortable with that well my child will have implant, it will be good for him to have braces, somehow he’ll manage. Well, the mother-in-law has let the subject go, But also the family kind of forced me. Yes tried to influence me on a difficult topic.

[Karolina]: I will refer to Ania’s statement and in terms of just this mixing. I used to take part participated in sports competitions and there was a discussion about it being AZS, which is for people of all people, yes? And there is also the IMP, which is the so-called “IMP”. AZS Polish Integration Championships. And we had a sports camp to discuss this, whether we were actually mixing the sports or not.

And I will say from my own experience, that this distinctiveness and this identity is important for people or deaf people, hard of hearing, or with other conditions, people with disabilities, whether intellectual or motor, etc. It is, however, no less important, that this access, because it makes it possible at sporting events, for example, a deaf person, who competes in swimming, e.g. I started, it was thanks to that conditions were adjusted to me, there were hearing impaired girls and we had equal opportunities, because, for example, we wouldn’t hear the whistle, where it is in standard competitions, and here, thanks to that, the judge waved us through. And we had a level playing field, that we don’t hear these sounds we don’t hear at the start. But that way we could look and take a slightly different approach to the start. So like this.

[Anna]: I agree. And I’m aware of that, but I’m aiming more for that, to try not to treat at least these sports as such, strictly as such professional, just more in the form of such actions of getting to know each other, and not such strictly rigid rules.

[Karolina]: This is something else I would add, that there are people like the hard of hearing, They go to the sports club, as much as there is this action, but they’re already aiming in the IMPs to be they are mixed in the future, like my colleague says, that it’s evolution, that already these changes are coming in. We just need a little bit of time. But a good idea, actually.

[Tomasz]: Aga, please.

[Agnieszka]: I wanted to to refer to the topic of Annie: integration of deaf and hearing, hard of hearing. I will say approx. My experience over the years is that, that these groups are completely disconnected, but that’s how I see it, I’m asking myself if that’s going to give any result, if we combine these groups, for example hearing people are interested these topics, for example, on my tiktok I collect approximately 8,000 people, who are watching me. I talk about the subject of sign language, they also ask where to meet. I’m happy with that, but I’m looking, that there is an opportunity for integration, But sometimes it depends on the person, whether that person is interested in it. It’s really an individual thing. It depends on the person.

Hearing aid or implant? It’s a normal thing, like glasses

[Dominika]: I think this is about about such an individual need to get used to it, and for the community to treat this deafness or hard of hearing as something normal, like wearing corrective glasses.

[Jolanta]: In my opinion the community doesn’t have that knowledge either, That with the hearing impaired, or with the deaf you can simultaneously communicate by means of gestures, by means of this body language. Facial expressions. People can often be found (deaf), who are just reading speech from their lips. Just willingness, first of all. And even a basic knowledge of this sign language. Basic – that’s already a lot.

[Tomasz]: That’s cool.

[Karolina]: Although in school, in education, right?

Will disability regulations change anything?

[Tomasz]: This is where the the issue of education comes together again. We have to know, we have to want, we have to stimulate, simply. Our work, our meeting It’s a start – just like you said – the beginning of some steps. You might be persuaded. In Poland there are a lot of there are new regulations and mandated from the European Union and the United Nations. All for people with disabilities. And when will this be implemented? Maybe in 5 years’ time?

[Eugeniusz]: I think it’s difficult.

[Anna]: How many of these regulations are dead? Or, so to speak, in a drawer for the time being.

[Paulina]: Yes, we have all these recipes, which must be respected both citizens and businesses, and universities, and blah blah blah. But regulations with regulations, they can be respected, but there is always – as they say – a Pole can get around the rules. And it seems to me that this is what happening now, because there are different regulations, that are supposed to ensure accessibility people with disabilities, whether for work or education, or simply to be integrated with the hearing community. And the problem is simply that we, as Poles are able to make life easier for ourselves. In what way? By simply By bypassing all these restrictions.

And that’s why the crux of the problem really what we’re talking about here, is a change of attitude of the hearing public in general or there in general any society in which we function. Because if we don’t change attitudes, so what if there are these regulations, if nobody is going to out of goodwill want to, and sometimes really good will, this is sometimes probably the most important part, because okay, there are regulations etc, but the issue is, to be open to change all of that, actions towards just being open and accessible to these people.

[Tomasz]: It’s interesting that on the one hand regulations Poles are able to get around them, and on the other hand in Europe Poles have the biggest heart, they are most willing to cooperate, to help. Why? Why is it being pulled apart? Very curious.

[Anna]: I think, here is a lack of awareness of certain regulations, That we are entitled to. That’s important as well.

[Karolina]: Why is this coming apart? That’s how I think about your question. I think it’s a question of culture, that we are going to develop. The Polish mentality is coming in.

[Weronika]: I think in general you need is just awareness, to make as many as many people hearing, to talk about it as much as possible and to show positive sides and that they change attitudes, so that they are not afraid of contact also with people who are hard of hearing, deaf and that they feel comfortable around them. You have to talk about it as much as possible.

[Dominika]: Because if I can’t hear, it doesn’t mean I’m biting or infecting.

Employee with a disability = loss for the company?

[Alicja]: And also I would like to add, that I often see such misrepresentation among people, that a disabled person is more going to bring losses to the company, and if we employ someone, it’s more that we’re counting on, that there will be more turnover, greater profits in the company and often people simply have no awareness, That we have a lot of assets, that we know the needs of people with disabilities. This is what we are experts in. From a young age we have been raised in an environment of people with disabilities and we know their needs. We are able to adapt the message of marketing, so that the next customers come. Well, because people with disabilities are also potential customers.

[Tomasz]: Super, a beautiful finale. You summed it up beautifully. Yes, it is true that people with disabilities will be more and more, not less. The elderly will also be more. The public does not want to to accept some of the information. Disabled people are put off, the elderly are put off. And it’s waiting for everyone. Truth be told, we’re going to get annoyed now, we complain, and then, in 5 or 10 years, we will decide about the labour situation in Poland.

[Eugene]: Also in the Sejm there was a topic about accessibility for deaf people. And now what? What’s next? What’s next? Beautiful are the speeches and the implementation is not there.

[Tomasz]: Finally, a word, please. Did you want to? You raised your hand.

[Paulina]: I don’t remember anymore, one second. I forgot.

[Tomasz]: Aga.

[Agnieszka]: Can I? I wanted to tell you about my mother, who is also a deaf person. This year her business was closed down. Mum is a seamstress. Mum was looking for a job. She wanted to find a job just like that, also as a seamstress. She loves sewing very much, sewing clothes. She searched and searched. And she couldn’t find one. They only gave an offer as internship as a trainee. I don’t know whether because the fact that she is deaf. After all, she had a huge experience. Well.

In conclusion…

[Tomasz]: Thank you for talking to us today. We can’t solve everything. I have no experts, no ideas, to change everything in a second. But it’s true, gradually, you just have to move forward. Talk to your friends. Learning all your life. What is the situation like? What is the legislation like? What can we do? What do we have? We have contact and we can maintain relationships. For the future we can do some kind of information campaign. A lot of information is not getting through. But what’s left? Keep your fingers crossed and keep going.

[Paulina]: And work on that too

[Eugeniusz]: A year, two, three and then they’ll all go away. It’s not that easy. It’s like pushing a stone. We want to keep going and keep pushing, to reach, to get to the top.

[Robert]: EU regulations are changing a lot.

[Paulina]: But we have to admit, That it’s still better now, Than let’s say 20 years ago. And now let’s think that in another 20 will be even better than it is now. So it may not happen in our time, but it will happen in the time of our children, grandchildren, etc. We are also thinking about our generations of the deaf and hard of hearing etc. Because it is, however a constant struggle for that.

[Tomasz]: I agreed. I thank you very much. We’ll end for today. Tomorrow: “Culture” and “Hearing vs. deaf” – dispute or integration, heart.

[Eugeniusz]: And the hearing impaired.

[Marek]: Deaf and hearing dispute?

[Tomasz]: Or a heart! Thanks for today. Dimming.

[Anna]: Cut!. Good night, good night!

The Intergenerational Deaf Forum was held in December 2022, within the framework of the “Intergenerational Deaf Center” project. The task was funded by the Ministry of Education and Science.

Logo of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Poland. On the left is the emblem, on the right is the name of the ministry with white and red underlining
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