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Resources and support to help you assist your employees

What type of support and equipment is available for employees with hearing loss?
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There are three main types of support available to help people with hearing loss continue to play a full role in the workplace: 

  • specialist products
  • communication support
  • deaf awareness training for staff.

Specialist products

There’s a wide range of equipment that can help people with hearing loss to hear more clearly at work and alert them to alarms, such as: 

  • listening equipment, including personal listeners and hearing loop and infrared systems (these help people to hear more clearly over background noise)
  • amplified telephones
  • flashing-light fire alarms.

Find out more about specialist products for people with hearing loss.

Communication support

If an employee with hearing loss needs support to communicate in meetings or taA woman providing communication support for a two men in a workplace meeting.ke notes at work, there’s a range of services that can help.

If someone struggles to follow what’s being said in a large meeting and is comfortable reading English, a speech-to-text reporter (STTR) could be helpful. An STTR types every word that’s spoken and the text appears on a laptop screen, or one large screen or more if several people are using the service.

Many people with hearing loss lipread – it helps them to fill in the gaps when they can’t hear everything that’s said. It’s very difficult to take notes while lipreading, so an employee who lipreads may need a professional notetaker to go to meetings with them. If they rely on lipreading to understand what’s being said, they may benefit from a professional lipspeaker, who mouths everything that’s said using clear lipshapes that are easy to lipread.

Before booking communication support for an employee, always check with them to find out which type of support they’d prefer, if any.

Our Communication range of factsheets provides information on working with different communication professionals, and how to book them for your employees.

You can book highly qualified communication professionals for your employees through our Access Solutions team.

Deaf awareness training for staff

It’s important that your workforce is aware of the support that they can offer colleagues with a hearing loss – it will help to ensure that you have a truly inclusive workplace. Simple steps such as facing a colleague with hearing loss when speaking to them, and speaking clearly, one person at a time, can make a huge difference.

We offer a variety of training courses to meet the specific requirements of your workplace.
 
Find out what other simple steps you can take to help you communicate with people with hearing loss.

How can I meet the costs of supporting my employees with hearing loss?

The government’s Access to Work scheme provides grants to help fund the practical support and specialistPiggy bank - making reasonable adjustments equipment that people with a disability or health condition need in the workplace. The scheme offers grants when an individual’s support needs or adaptations are beyond the reasonable adjustments that an employer is legally obliged to provide under the Equality Act.

It is a scheme for individuals, so your employee must apply for a grant rather than you as their employer, 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.

You can direct your employees to our information about Access to Work .
An Employer’s Guide to Access to Work is also available on GOV.UK (opens in new window)

What can I do to continue to support the career development of my employees with hearing loss?Action on Hearing Loss sponsored Lipreading Class at City Lit College, London.

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.

Good practice, leading to full access to training and career development opportunities for employees with hearing loss, could include the following:

  • Using course tutors and trainers who have received deaf awareness training.
  • Informing trainers well in advance that a staff member with hearing loss will be attending the course. This will help the trainer adapt his/her teaching styles where appropriate, making the course more accessible.
  • Staff members with hearing loss may require communication support and/or technical aids. This can be crucial for successful training. Ask your employee in advance what communication support they need, if any.
  • Consider adapting standard training materials. For example, induction videos can be subtitled to make them accessible for people with hearing loss, or a transcript of the video can be given to an employee with hearing loss before the induction course starts.

Which organisations can help me to support employees with a hearing loss?

A range of organisations can offer you information and guidance on how to support employees with hearing loss in the workplace.

Action on Hearing Loss
For information about all hearing loss related issues, contact our Information Line.
To find out more about booking communication support or deaf awareness training, contact our Access Solutions team on 0333 240 5658

 
Access to Work
atwosu.london@dwp.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone 0345 268 8489
Textphone 0345 608 8753
If you are in Northern Ireland, contact an Employment Service Adviser in your local Jobs & Benefits office or JobCentre.

Jobcentre Plus
Find contact details for your local office (opens in new window).

Jobs and Benefits Office/JobCentre (Northern Ireland only)
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