A new report from AoHL funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), details how lipreading & related support can help the 3.7 million UK people with a hearing loss of working age (16–64) to stay in/find work.
While hearing aids provide the best support for people with a hearing loss, lipreading is a major rehabilitative skill to be used alongside hearing aids. By recognising lip shapes and patterns lipreading helps to use context to fill gaps in conversation in order to maximise dialogue.
The Department of Health and NHS England’s Action Plan on Hearing Loss recognises the importance of lipreading support being provided in a timely fashion and the research by Action on Hearing Loss looked into the most effective and efficient way of delivering lipreading and hearing loss support. People taking part in the survey emphasised the importance of being given choice over how they access support with preferences being split fairly evenly between one-to-one lipreading support sessions (30%), group support sessions with people with hearing loss (32%), and access to online materials (33%). Respondents also said the top priorities for inclusion and support would be to have information about equipment (57%), having lipreading support (47%), learning how to manage hearing loss (47%) and information on hearing loss at work (40%).
Paul Breckell, Chief Executive of charity Action on Hearing Loss said: ‘The low employment rates amongst people with hearing loss cost the UK economy £25bn a year. The cost of providing annual bi-monthly lipreading support through workshops across every NHS trust area in the UK offering audiology services is approximately £550K per annum – that’s £50 per patient - a small price to get or keep someone in employment.
‘We thank colleagues in the former Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (now part of the Department for Education) for funding the project to explore the best ways of delivering lipreading and related support and establish if other mechanisms could be used to provide this to more people sooner.
‘We will work with NHS England and the Department of Health to help NHS audiology departments to refer and signpost people who would benefit from lipreading support at an early stage and continue as a charity to promote the benefits of lipreading classes and campaign for better access to them.’
The report Managing hearing loss when seeking or in employment report is available.
Contact for media enquiries:
Gorki Duhra, Senior PR Officer at Action on Hearing Loss, telephone: 020 7296 8057 / 07944 038635 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, @HearingLossPR