Hearing management

Updated 13 December 2017

Almost half of the staff at this Cape Town hotel are deaf

The Park Inn Radisson Hotel in Newlands is the first hotel to employ up to a third of staff who are deaf and who have no previous experience of working in a hotel.

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The Park Inn Radisson Hotel in Cape Town is a beacon of hope for deaf people. It opened its doors in 2014 and is already praised for being the hotel with the highest complement of deaf employees in the world.

In South Africa there are 1.6 million deaf and hard-of-hearing people and 70% are unemployed. The Park Inn Radisson Hotel in Newlands has 93 employees and 28 are deaf. All of them have no experience of working in a hotel.

Read: SA to get sign language Bible

Director of sales and marketing Brendon Hart joined News24Live in studio to share some insight into the hotel.

Leading the way

"We are very proud to say, with approximately a third of our labour force, we are the number one deaf employer in the hotel space in South Africa."

He said the 122-bedroomed hotel is designed and built for accessibility for disabled people.

View: Miss Deaf SA over the last four years

The three-star hotel, said Hart, is also 40% owned by DeafSA, which has its offices on the first floor.

"We saw a great opportunity to get involved with the deaf staff and we saw an opportunity to also be a pioneer into the disable staff for hotels."

One of the hotel's deaf staff members, Dale Holmes, who is supervisor of meetings and events, was also in the News24Live studio.

A positive response

He pointed out that the hotel also employs an interpreter to ensure that communication is clear, adding that the response from clients has been very positive. "We have seen so many positive clients coming to our hotel," he said.

Holmes, who has been working at the hotel for nine months now, says he has met many different people who also speak different languages.

"It makes me feel proud because it says to me that they are accepting us as deaf people."

Watch the full three-part interview below to learn more:

Types of hearing loss

Hearing loss is normally divided into two categories: conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss. One can also have a mixed hearing loss, which is a combination of the two.

People who cannot hear are usually described as being “hearing impaired”. This term includes different types of hearing loss, regardless of the nature, cause and extent.

Here is a closer look at the different terms and descriptions:

Deafness: a word describing a person who cannot use their hearing.

Hard of hearing: a person whose hearing is not within normal limits, but who can use the residue of their hearing (especially aided by hearing aids) to hear speech.

Deaf and dumb: a term used in the past. Nowadays it is inappropriate because all people with hearing loss can be taught to communicate.

Also read:

Stem cells may cure deafness

7 benefits of sign language

Deaf people read language much faster

 

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Ask the Expert

Hearing Expert

Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

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