Thousands of hearing impaired people still face barriers to employment. Employers can make a profound difference by making simple changes in the workplace and by providing support to promote an inclusive and effective work environment.
Only 63 percent of hearing impaired people of working age in the UK are in employment, compared to 75 percent of the national work force, according to a survey published by RNID, a national organization representing deaf and heard of hearing people in the UK.
More than 53 percent of those surveyed stated that one of the main barriers preventing them from finding work is the attitude of potential employers. A lack of basic awareness of hearing issues is also cited as a frequent obstacle facing hearing impaired people in their search for a job.
Employment barriers are also experienced by those already employed. More than 51 percent of those who holding a job felt restricted in developing their career and held back from promotion as a result of their hearing impairment. 34 percent felt their workplace did not make full use of their qualifications.
Social implications of discrimination
Coping with hearing impairment in the workplace can be challenging and have serious social implications unless the situation is dealt with by the employer. 55 percent of the survey's respondents with employment reported feeling isolated at work due to their hearing impairment, and 24 percent found it difficult to communicate with their work colleagues.
75 percent felt that the situation would be improved if their employer provided awareness training for their staff. Meanwhile, 43 percent reported that their employers did not provide such training.
RNID stresses the need to combat discrimination and encourages all employers to be more supportive of the hearing impaired employees and create accessible and accepting workplaces.
Source: www.rnid.org.uk 2006