Action on Hearing Loss Logo
    Total results:
    Search
      Total results:

      Tackling the loneliness of hearing loss - putting the business case

      Loneliness costs businesses £2.5bn a year. Our Director of Policy and Campaigns, Roger Wicks, makes the link between hearing loss and loneliness, and suggests changes to support employees.

      By: Roger Wicks | 12 January 2018

       

      Can you imagine being at work, sat in an office full of colleagues you know and respect – but feeling lonely and isolated?

      For a large proportion of the UK’s five million working-age people with hearing loss this is their daily reality. In our latest survey, 65% of people with hearing loss said they felt isolated at work and 47% felt lonely.

      Not surprising, then that 79% went on to say that their hearing loss made work more stressful.

      But what about the huge cost to the employer? The new report from the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, Combating loneliness one conversation at a time, presents some shocking statistics, including the finding that loneliness costs businesses £2.5bn a year through the harm it does to workers or the people they care for. The Commission found that the costs mount up from lost days, low productivity and high staff turnover. 

      “Loneliness costs businesses £2.5bn a year”

      The Jo Cox Commission is clear that tackling loneliness needs action across society – it’s not the sole responsibility of leaders and employers – but business leaders do need to create and nurture ‘connection-friendly’ environments.

      So, what do these findings mean for employers who do want to make sure that staff with hearing loss are genuinely integrated into their workplace?

      First, they must encourage employees to disclose their hearing loss, indeed all disabilities – and create the environment and culture that allows this to happen.

      Around half of the people we surveyed said they’d hidden their hearing loss from people at work. Obviously, no employer can provide the right support if they’re completely in the dark. Communication needs to start at the recruitment stage – with candidates asked whether they need any support or adjustments.

       “Half the people we surveyed said they’d hidden their hearing loss from people at work”

      Employers must also make the small, simple adjustments necessary to accommodate the needs of people with hearing loss. Many of these cost nothing. For example, letting someone move their desk to face colleagues, or making sure meeting rooms are well-lit so employees can lipread.

      Some adjustments do cost money, such as providing a hearing loop or a listening device such as a Roger Pen – but when these are classified as more than a ‘reasonable adjustment’, the cost can be met, in full or in part, by the government’s Access to Work scheme.

      Another essential for a connection-friendly work environment is staff who are deaf aware. It makes business sense for companies to offer staff deaf awareness training. If employees can’t communicate with colleagues with hearing loss then they can’t communicate with the 11 million UK consumers with hearing loss. Deaf awareness training incorporates simple, commonsense tips, such as speaking one at a time in meetings – and taking care not to obstruct your mouth if a colleague or customer is lipreading you.

      The Jo Cox Commission depicts clearly the interdependence between workplaces and loneliness – something that is exacerbated by hearing loss. Employers need to create the connection-friendly environments to unlock the true potential of their workforce. 

      Find out more  about supporting employees with deafness and hearing loss and remember to follow the Hearing Loss at Work LinkedIn page for news, tips and resources.

      Recent Posts

      Apple Airpods

      Is Apple becoming more accessible? Apple have recently announced that their Live Listen feature that is available on their Made for iPhone hearing aids, will now be made available for their wireless Airpod earphones in their next software update. So what does this mean for people with hearing loss? Jesal Vishnuram, Technology Manager, tells us more.

      By: Jesal Vishnuram
      12 July 2018

      Protecting the hearing of premature babies – how our funding is helping

      In 2016, we funded Professor William Newman at the University of Manchester to develop a quick test for a specific genetic mutation that increases someone’s risk of losing their hearing, if they have to take certain life-saving antibiotics. He used the results to obtain a further £900,000 from other funders to develop the test so that it can be used in clinics to protect the hearing of premature babies. Tracey Pollard, from our Biomedical Research team, tells us more.

      By: Tracey Pollard
      12 July 2018

      Your essential summer packing list

      Whatever you’re doing this summer – heading on holiday, staying at home or tuning in to all the sporting action – we’ve a range of great products to help you, or a loved one with hearing loss, live life to the full. Plus, from 9 – 31 July, enjoy 5% off selected items in our Summer Essentials Sale.

      By: Sally Bromham
      09 July 2018

      Comedian Tom GK is getting geared up for his new show

      Comedian Tom GK is getting geared up for his new show ‘Hearing Loss: The Musical’ which he is due to premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Tom, who featured in Action on Hearing Loss’ comedy fundraiser ‘Laughing to Deaf’ in May, talks about how he uses his comedy to be heard in a world where he can sometimes feel left out.

      By: Tom-Gockelen Kozlowski
      09 July 2018

      Recent Posts

      Apple Airpods

      Is Apple becoming more accessible? Apple have recently announced that their Live Listen feature that is available on their Made for iPhone hearing aids, will now be made available for their wireless Airpod earphones in their next software update. So what does this mean for people with hearing loss? Jesal Vishnuram, Technology Manager, tells us more.

      By: Jesal Vishnuram
      12 July 2018

      Protecting the hearing of premature babies – how our funding is helping

      In 2016, we funded Professor William Newman at the University of Manchester to develop a quick test for a specific genetic mutation that increases someone’s risk of losing their hearing, if they have to take certain life-saving antibiotics. He used the results to obtain a further £900,000 from other funders to develop the test so that it can be used in clinics to protect the hearing of premature babies. Tracey Pollard, from our Biomedical Research team, tells us more.

      By: Tracey Pollard
      12 July 2018

      Your essential summer packing list

      Whatever you’re doing this summer – heading on holiday, staying at home or tuning in to all the sporting action – we’ve a range of great products to help you, or a loved one with hearing loss, live life to the full. Plus, from 9 – 31 July, enjoy 5% off selected items in our Summer Essentials Sale.

      By: Sally Bromham
      09 July 2018

      Comedian Tom GK is getting geared up for his new show

      Comedian Tom GK is getting geared up for his new show ‘Hearing Loss: The Musical’ which he is due to premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Tom, who featured in Action on Hearing Loss’ comedy fundraiser ‘Laughing to Deaf’ in May, talks about how he uses his comedy to be heard in a world where he can sometimes feel left out.

      By: Tom-Gockelen Kozlowski
      09 July 2018

      More like this

      As the largest charity for people with hearing loss in the UK, we understand how hearing loss can affect everything in your life from your relationships, to your education and...

      It’s Deaf Awareness Week 2018 from 14–20 May. Download and use our free posters, communication tips cards and fingerspelling cards to help increase deaf awareness in your office, school or...

      We're really proud of everyone who's a part of Action on Hearing Loss, and hope you'll feel inspired to become a part of our community.​