Roger Wicks, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Action on Hearing Loss, said: “Action on Hearing Loss fully supports the Work and Pensions Committee’s conclusion that assistive technology has vast ‘untapped potential’. With five million people in the UK of working age living with deafness or hearing loss, assistive technology is a key component in the drive to unlocking their potential and overhauling some of society’s attitudes to disability and we believe that a coordinated effort from Government, employers and disabled people themselves is needed to fully exploit its ‘life changing capabilities’.
“Our own research shows that over two-fifths of people who hadn’t disclosed their hearing loss at work had kept it hidden because they didn’t think the employer could make any reasonable adjustments. We welcome the report’s focus on addressing this and bridging the knowledge gap that both employers and employees have about what help is available. The Government’s Disability Confident scheme should incorporate guidance on assistive technology, and we further urge the Government to expedite its plans for an employer’s informational portal on disability in the workplace.”
“We also call on the Government to accept the Committee’s recommendation to create an Industrial Strategy Grand Challenge on Assistive Technology. By unblocking some of the £4.7bn allocated to the Challenges, much needed seed money could be funnelled into the development of Assistive Technology. Should this Challenge be established we would also want the Government to insure that disabled people and their representative charities are engaged in identifying priority areas of technological development.”
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Notes to Editors
Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID) is the national charity helping people confronting deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss to live the life they choose. Action on Hearing Loss enables them to take control of their lives and remove the barriers in their way, giving people support and care, developing technology and treatments, and campaigning for equality.