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The impact of hearing loss at work

Being deaf or having hearing loss should not be a barrier to applying for and excelling in most jobs. But when employers lack understanding about hearing loss and don’t offer support, employees get left out, and left behind.

Our research shows that more than half of people who are deaf or have hearing loss have felt like they’ve been treated unfairly at work and experienced teasing and mocking from their colleagues.

We also found:

  • 7 in 10 said colleagues have not communicated effectively with them.
  • 60% had retired early and, of those people, 56% said that this was related to their hearing loss.

Our 2018 survey of people with hearing loss shows that when managers and colleagues lack empathy and understanding it can lead to exclusion from social conversations in the workplace, isolation, stress and bullying. We also found that employees who are not supported to manage their hearing loss in the workplace can have fewer opportunities for promotion and are more likely to retire early due to the difficulties they face at work.

According to this same research, concerns about employer attitudes towards hearing loss result in 54% of employees choosing not to tell their employer about their hearing difficulties, which further distances staff from the support they need to reach their potential.  

Our 2018 Working for Change survey had 1,072 responses from people with hearing loss aged 16 and above (although base sizes per question varied).

You can find the full results of this survey, as well as other surveys we’ve conducted about experiences in the workplace, in our research reports

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Page last updated: 22 February 2023

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