What support and equipment is available for employees with hearing loss?
There are three main types of support available to help people with hearing loss remain at work: These are:
- specialist products including personal listeners, amplified telephones and flashing fire alarms
- communication support to help communicate in meetings or take notes at work
- deaf awareness training for staff.
How can I meet the costs of supporting employees with hearing loss?
The government’s Access to Work scheme helps to fund practical support and specialist equipment for people with hearing loss when their needs are more than the reasonable adjustments that an employer is legally obliged to provide under the Equality Act.
It's a scheme for individuals, so your employee must apply for a grant rather than you, but you can support them to do this. The most important first step is to make sure that they are aware that the scheme is there to help them, as not everybody knows about it.
How can I support the career development of employees with hearing loss?
Under the Equality Act, employees with hearing loss should have the same access to in-house training, retraining or career development opportunities as their hearing colleagues.
To ensure full access to training and career development opportunities for employees with hearing loss, you could consider:
- using course tutors and trainers who have received deaf awareness training
- informing trainers in advance that a staff member with hearing loss will be attending the course. This will help the trainer make their course more accessible
- asking your employee in advance what communication support they need, if any.
- adapting standard training materials. For example, training videos can be subtitled to make them accessible for people with hearing loss, and a transcript of the video given to the employee.
If you’re an employer based in Northern Ireland our Workable programme can support you to make sure your workplace is accessible for people who are deaf or have hearing loss.
If you'd like to find out more about how we can help you with practical support for your employees with hearing loss, see Services and training for businesses