Unlimited potential? Hearing loss in the workplace

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Unlimited potential? Hearing loss in the workplace

According to ‘Unlimited Potential?’ a recently published report, some people with hearing loss were forced to resign, retire early or made redundant.


The report published by Action on hearing loss, researched the experiences of people with hearing loss in the workplace.

The research showed that people can be fearful that if their hearing deteriorates further, they will be unable to do their job well or even that they will lose their job. Other key findings include:

  • An organisation’s values and beliefs influence what adjustments are made and the way that managers and colleagues react.
  • Human resources and occupational health teams generally did not consider what adjustments were needed to help support the person with hearing loss to continue in their role.
  • In general, managers were broadly supportive but they were only likely to take action or make adjustments when requested and often not promptly.

The report’s author, Laura Matthews, has suggested solutions, which include:

  • For organsiations

Establishing a culture that values and supports people with disabilities will ensure that people with hearing loss are able and willing to stay in their roll.

  • For line managers:

Line manager must take responsibility for encouraging a supportive environment within their team and ensuring that effective adjustments are made.

  • For government:

Government must play a role in improving the experience that people with hearing loss have in the workplace including through raising awareness of the support currently available, such as Access to Work (AtW), as well as legal rights and responsibilities under the Equality Act.

  • For manufacturers:

Manufacturers of equipment for people with hearing loss should consult with them in order to design a range of products that are both functional and attractive to everybody.

The full report is available at: www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/unlimitedpotential

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