3rd March is World Hearing Day. Research from Action on Hearing Loss shows that developing hearing loss can lead to loss of employment (Matthews, 2011) and problems gaining employment (Baker, 2006).
- People with hearing loss are less likely to be employed (65% are in employment) when compared with people with no long-term health issue or disability (79%) (ONS, 2015b).
- Two-thirds of people (70%) felt their hearing loss sometimes prevented them from fulfilling their potential at work, and a similar proportion of respondents to the same survey (68%) said that it left them feeling isolated at work (Arrowsmith, 2014).
- People with hearing loss are paid £2,000 less per year than the general population. This amounts to £4 billion in lost income across the UK (The Ear Foundation, 2014).
- Research found that 8 out of 10 people with hearing loss identified employer attitudes as the major barrier to employment (Arrowsmith, 2014; Baker, 2006).
Attitudes to hearing loss
Attitudes to and the impact of hearing loss can also lead to people leaving the labour market. Alarmingly, two-fifths (41%) of people surveyed, who had retired early, said that this was related to their hearing loss. This highlights that when an organisation fails to effectively support an employee with hearing loss, it can have significant consequences (Arrowsmith, 2014).
People with hearing loss can use Access to Work to access communication support. This could include a BSL interpreter or speech-to-text reporter, or specialist equipment such as a personal listening device or hearing loop system. The recent introduction of a limit on the value of Access to Work awards (set at £40,800) may affect deaf people who use the scheme to access language and communication support in work.
You can read the full report which covers more on work as well as broader topics here.