09 January 2007

Hearing loss affects job opportunities

Hearing impaired people have a harder time finding job security than people with normal hearing. The unemployment rate in the hearing impaired population is four times the rate in the general population.

Hearing impairment poses serious challenges for people in the labour market, according to a study carried out by the Royal National Institute for the Deaf among 870 hearing impaired respondents in the United Kingdom.

The study found that 63 percent of the hearing impaired population were employed, as compared to 75 percent of the general population.

One in five (20 percent) of people with hearing loss were found to be unemployed and seeking jobs, while this was the case for just one in 20 (5 percent) in the general population - an unemployment rate among hearing impaired people in the labour market four times higher than the rate in the general population.

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Need for change of attitude

Many hearing impaired people experience prejudice and lack of understanding as a major barrier to functioning better in their job or even making into the labour market.

Almost 60 percent of the respondents pointed out that the attitude of the employer presents a major hurdle when seeking employment.

55 percent feel socially isolated in the workplace because of their hearing problems. Almost 30 percent have experienced harassment from co-workers.

Source: 'Opportunity blocked', RNID, November 2006.

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