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      Talking about hearing loss

      Hearing loss is often a non-visible disability. Many people feel there is a stigma around the condition and hide it from their employer, so it's vital to create an environment in which employees feel comfortable to be open about their disability.

      How to have the conversation


      Supporting someone with hearing loss doesn't have to be difficult and showing someone that you're there to help is invaluable. Everyone with hearing loss is different and therefore the assistance needed will vary from person to person.

      Once an employee shares information about their condition with you, it's OK to ask how their hearing loss affects what they can hear, and the effect it's having at work. You can then work with your employee to discuss the support that's available. 

      Recruitment stage


      Employers need to demonstrate that the culture and practices are in place to offer individuals the right support from get go. Candidates should be asked whether they require a adjustment
      during all phases of the recruitment process. However, an employer should not unnecessarily ask candidates about a disability during the recruitment phase.

      For more information, including template wording, see Recruiting people who have hearing loss.

      Offer stage

      Provide another opportunity for the candidate to tell you about a hearing loss (or other disability), and any support or adjustments that they require. You could include a question in the offer of employment letter, or in any form new members of staff are required to fill out

      While in work


      It's good to continue to give staff opportunities to talk about their hearing loss throughout their working life. This is particularly relevant for those who develop hearing loss later in their career.

      If someone has hearing loss, it's important for them to get support at the earliest possible stage. If you offer health checks for your employees, then you should include a hearing check as part of this. You should make it clear during these checks that your organisation is on hand to support anyone who is diagnosed with a hearing loss. You can also use appraisals or performance reviews as an opportunity for employees to discuss the development of any health condition which might be relevant to their work.

      Supporting employees with hearing loss

      Jennifer Stanley

      "Being open about my hearing loss is the best way to make sure that I come across as capable and competent".

      Read Jennifer's story

      Free Employers' toolkit

      Our toolkit contains a handy guide for employers, plus a selection of posters, to help you create a more inclusive workplace for people who are deaf or have hearing loss.

      Get your free copy