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80% of people who are deaf cite employers as 'major barrier' to work

Posted on 21/05/2014

Our new research highlights issues facing employees with hearing loss

A man who is deaf and wearing a hearing aid in discussion with a colleague, supported by a sign language interpreter.

Three out of four people with hearing loss feel their employment opportunities are more limited than their hearing peers, with almost 80% naming employers as the major barrier according to our new research released today, to mark Deaf Awareness Week.

Our findings, which highlight the difficulties people who are deaf face at work, show that hearing loss prevented 70% of people surveyed from fulfilling their potential at work and, of those that retired early, two-fifths said hearing loss contributed to their decision to retire.

Equal opportunity is essential

Our Chief Executive, Paul Breckell, said: “Why should the one in six people with a hearing loss in the UK be denied the same opportunities to progress their careers as people with hearing? It’s crucial that employers change their attitudes to reduce the daily obstacles that deaf people face and take practical steps, such as having working hearing loops, installing amplified telephones and making simple changes to work areas, to ensure everyone has the chance to reach their full potential.”

Mat Gilbert, the UK’s only deaf professional sportsperson, who plays for Bath Rugby Club, commented: “I didn’t allow being deaf to limit my ambition to play top-level rugby and I appreciate the support I’ve received from all my rugby teams. I hope people with a hearing loss are able to fulfil their aspirations, like I have, make the most of their skills and talents, and have the same chances at work as their hearing peers so that they can kick-on with their careers.”

Further key findings

Our research revealed a variety of issues faced by people who are deaf or have a hearing loss, both inside and outside the workplace:

  • 31% of people feel they are treated differently because of their deafness, hearing loss and tinnitus
  • 33% of people who are deaf avoid social situations because they find it difficult to communicate
  • 68% of people with hearing loss feel isolated at work as a result

Find out more

question mark and exclamation mark iconHow deaf aware are you? Visit our Deaf Awareness Week page to find out more.

Go to our factsheets and leaflets page for information on a range of issues related to deafness, hearing loss and tinnitus; including your rights as an employee.

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