Jack Improves His Hearing and His Career Prospects

Jack is a visual effects artist located in Vancouver. He works on a variety of TV shows and movies.

Jack was born with hearing impairment, but had recently experienced further deterioration to his hearing.

“Over the last three or four years, I have lost most of my hearing in one ear. The other one wasn’t great to begin with,” Jack explains.

With his hearing impairment, it was difficult for Jack to receive feedback on his work — an important part of the process in the production of visual effects.

“A lot of it was confidence issues and just being too scared to speak up and ask for clarification if I had already asked for it before. So I wouldn’t want to ask for it a third time if I didn’t catch it. And then I would be worried, did I get the feedback right, am I going to do the wrong thing – just kind of worrying in general about kind of annoying people,” he says. “Especially since a lot of my meetings take place in a dark theatre for reviews, I can’t lip read.”

Jack also has a “bad left hip,” which had gradually caused him more pain over the last few years.

“I am sitting at a desk all day, so that gets painful,” he shares. “We all get into that crunch time and we sit there for way longer than we think, and before I would get up [after] and be like, ‘Oh no, this really hurts me.’”

While saving up to buy a hearing aid, a friend had told Jack about the Neil Squire Society’s Technology@Work program which can provide funding for peripheral assistive technology for use with hearing aids. It seemed like a perfect fit, as Jack had also been looking at getting a Roger Pen (new window), a microphone device that connects wirelessly to a hearing aid to amplify speech and mitigate distracting background noise.

Once he reached out to the Neil Squire Society, he found the process easy.

“Everything was addressed,” he explains.

He received a Roger Pen, which he describes as life changing.

“I definitely feel like now I actually have a future. Before I didn’t think I would be able to move up [in my career] because it would involve things like conference calls and things I was never confident in, because of my hearing issues. Now, it’s like I could do all these jobs because I don’t have to worry about those phone calls, I don’t have to worry about not being able to hear other clients, or that kind of stuff. It has definitely boosted my future employment opportunities,” he says.

“Now, it’s like I kind of feel like I get things the first time. And if I don’t get it the first time, I will definitely get it the second time. Now, I am not so scared to ask and not so scared of any review sessions,” Jack continues. “I am just able to get that kind of feedback straight away and my employers don’t have to keep saying the same thing over and over, or worry that I picked something up wrong. The confidence has been the best part for me.”

To help with his hip pain, he received an adjustable ergonomic office chair and keyboard tray. While the impact on his work has been enormous, he also sees benefits outside his work life — time he needs to refresh and recharge.

“I also do TaeKwon-Do (new window) outside of work and I really enjoy doing that, [but] that was kind of hard. If I was working like a 10 -12 hour day, there is just no way I can train afterwards — I would be in pain,” Jack explains. “But now it’s like I am able to train and everything and I am able to keep fit and be active outside of work, so when I am at work I am happier and have more energy. And I am not worrying.

“Everything worked out great.”

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