Is hearing loss making you feel stressed and lonely at work? Five million working-age people in the UK are deaf or have some level of hearing loss, that’s 12 in every 100 employees.
Many people keep quiet about their hearing loss because they worry it may be seen negatively, but this can lead to isolation, work-related stress and lower productivity.
Our Working for Change campaign aims to change attitudes in the workplace, so that employees who are deaf or have hearing loss can reach their potential.
Five steps to a more deaf-friendly workplace
Is your employer providing the right support for you? Follow our five steps to a more deaf-friendly working environment:
1. Be open about your hearing loss. Our recent survey of working-age people with hearing loss found that more than half have put off telling their employer about their hearing loss. The right support can only be provided if your employer is aware of your needs.
2. Order our free Employers' toolkit. It’s packed full of resources to help your employer and colleagues better understand deafness and hearing loss. It includes:
• employers’ guide to supporting people with deafness and hearing loss at work
• British Sign Language (BSL) fingerspelling alphabet
• ‘Is this meeting Deaf Aware?’ poster
• personal quotes from employees posters
• top tips for the workplace
• workplace assessment one page overview.
3. Make your workplace more deaf-friendly by suggesting deaf awareness training for your colleagues. We run a range of deaf awareness and British Sign Language (BSL) courses across the UK, with the option of in-house training.
4. Display workplace posters to foster greater understanding of deafness and hearing loss:
• Good workplace communication tips
• Is this meeting deaf aware?
Download them here.
5. Find out about the products and technology designed to make the workplace safer and more accessible for people who are deaf or have hearing loss. A wide range of equipment is available – from flashing fire alarms and amplified phones to conversation listeners, which can facilitate communication in meetings.
Products to help you focus on your job, not your hearing
Here’s a round-up of some of our most popular work-related products:
This advanced listening system will transform your ability to hear at work. Enjoy superb sound quality, even in noisy environments, over distance and when several people are speaking. The Roger Pen picks up sounds and transmits the signal direct to your hearing aids through the MyLink neckloop receiver. Watch our video.
• Omni-directional – picks up amplified sound from all around
• Directional – point it in the direction of the sound you want to hear
• Super-directional – hear the speaker’s voice, even up to 25m away, if they’re holding or wearing the Roger Pen
• Bluetooth compatible and connects wirelessly to your mobile phone.
This wireless microphone transmitter is ideal for use in large meetings or conferences. Simply place it in the centre of a table and the omni-directional microphone will pick up speech from other people around the table. It will enable you to focus on work rather than on your hearing.
• One microphone is perfect for a small meeting
• For larger meetings, connect several microphones in a network
• Link the receiver to the microphone with the simple push of a button
• Up to 20 hours’ battery life.
The Roger Select is a state-of-the-art wireless microphone, with innovative MultiBeam Technology, that offers excellent speech understanding in noisy situations. Placed in the middle of a table, it automatically detects who’s talking, even over background noise. Use it with your hearing aids to follow conversations more easily. Watch the video.
• Six microphones and 360° listening radius
• Choose who you want to focus on when several people are talking
• Clip the device to clothing or wear it around your neck
• Bluetooth technology allows you to make wireless mobile calls.
If your work phone isn’t loud enough but you like everything else about it, the Phoneplus phone amplifier is the ideal solution. Simply plug it into your existing corded phone and adjust the volume and tone of calls to suit your hearing loss. You’ll never miss another word when making work calls.
• Increases handset volume by up to 40dB
• Tone-control feature allows voice adjustment
• Long (25cm) connection lead
• Compatible with most home and office corded phones.
This amplified stereo headset has excellent sound quality. It allows you to make phone calls while keeping your hands free to type and write. It’s hearing aid-compatible so you can use you hearing aids on the loop or ‘T’ setting to block out background noise.
• Light and comfortable to wear
• Dual ear pieces
• Compatible with in-line amplifiers for further call amplification
• Adjustable headband.
With fantastic sound quality and big, bold buttons, this hearing-aid compatible corded phone is one of our most popular phones. It has an extra-loud ringer and flashing strobe light, so you’ll always know when someone’s calling. The adjustable volume and tone controls make conversations easy to hear. Suitable if you have up to moderate hearing loss.
• Maximum ringer volume 85dB
• Increase handset volume up to 30dB
• Outgoing speech amplification
• Powered by the telephone line (no need for mains plug).
Services to support you at work
Action on Hearing Loss offers a range of services to improve accessibility and inclusivity at work for people who are deaf or have hearing loss. Here are some of the ways we can support you:
A workplace assessment outlines simple changes that can be made to help you work more easily. Our assessor will meet with you and your employer to discuss any barriers you’re facing in the workplace. Often, they can suggest reasonable adjustments that will improve things right away. The follow-up report can be used to apply for the government’s Access to Work funding. This will help to cover the cost of purchasing the equipment or support recommended by the assessment.
Online deaf awareness training
Are your colleagues deaf aware or could they benefit from some helpful tips and advice? Our ‘Get Deaf Aware’ training will improve their communication skills so you can get on with your job without unnecessary barriers. It only takes 60 minutes and can be completed at any time.
Hearing loop installation and maintenance
If you use hearing aids, a hearing loop system could make a big difference at work. By improving the quality of sound and reducing background noise, you’d be able to join in conversations with colleagues and customers far more easily. Does your workplace have a hearing loop system? If not, we can help scope out, install and maintain a suitable hearing loop.
Find out more
For full details about our featured products and services for the workplace, click on the ‘More Information’ button underneath each description above. Or, contact our expert Customer Services team:
Telephone 03330 144 525
Textphone 03330 144 530
Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm.
We’re the only UK charity with a full range of products for people living with deafness, hearing loss and tinnitus, so we’re the ideal source of impartial advice. And every purchase means that you’re helping fund research to cure hearing loss within a generation.