Hear, hear to CanDo

Meet Samantha, a Nurse Lead working in Child and Youth Mental Health, and a Counties Manukau staff member of 16 years.

Samantha has had a bilateral hearing disability since the age of 14 and wears hearing aids which, along with her ability to lip read, makes communication easier for her. 

“I cope well usually but it was tough during the COVID-19 pandemic. The surgical masks meant I couldn’t lip-read when talking to people. It was quite stressful asking people to keep repeating what they were saying. 

“Then came the added complication of ZOOM. It was of course set up to help people stay connected in challenging times, which was great but not so much so for me.

‘I struggled with large meetings and multiple screens, missing large chunks of the content of the meetings. I would often completely lose the flow of what was being said and started to avoid using Zoom altogether.”

When the CANDo Accessibility Network was launched, Samantha was keen to get involved and make changes for those with hearing difficulties.

“It has been a great platform for me to be able to discuss hearing disability issues and explore possible needs of both staff and service users to help support them,” she says.

The ZOOM issue was brought to the table and CANDo got together with other staff dedicated to finding a solution.

“We are thrilled to announce an enhancement to our Zoom meetings at Counties Manukau - the introduction of automated closed captioning so viewers can read what is being said.

“Thank you to the dedicated individuals and teams who made this possible, including the Counties Accessibility Network, Albert Wu, Claudia Williams, Jacky Zeng, Aram Lee, and the Health Alliance team,” says Raki Debebe​, Disability Strategy Implementation Lead.

“Their efforts have paved the way for a more inclusive and accommodating virtual environment."

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