Having a hearing loss adds an extra layer of difficulty to finding employment, and to daily work. It can be very isolating to feel excluded from conversations among colleagues, and very tiring to be always trying to make sense of partial information.
One in six people in the UK have some degree of hearing loss. It is never too early to start looking after your hearing.
Exposure to noise is a major cause of hearing loss. Look after your hearing at work, and outside work. See the Guidance from the Safety Office on Noise at Work, including guidance for departments on hearing protection.
The environment can make a big difference to people with hearing loss: some people may be able to cope well in a quiet room talking to one other person, but may find it impossible to distinguish sounds in a noisier environment.
‘I have regular meetings with my colleagues and I prefer to sit in the same place at the end of one side, so that I don’t have anyone on my deaf side and the light shines on my colleagues’ faces.’
Hearing aids are crucial, but people may need additional assistance to hear better in particular situations at work e.g.
Funding may be available through Access to Work for equipment (see our Funding webpage for more information).
Funding may be available through Access to Work for communication support (see our Funding webpage for more information).
People with hearing loss, especially if they have previously had full hearing, may rely on lipreading in face to face communication. Attending a local class can help an individual to practice. Classes are run by ATLA and Deaf Direct.
The Lipreading Practice website is a free resource with video clips, exercises and resources.
Tinnitus is a condition where the individual hears sounds in their ears that nobody else can hear.
The condition is often exacerbated by stress. There are various ways to manage tinnitus at work, including listening to white noise or music though headphones. For suggestions see Action On Hearing Loss's guide to tinnitus.
Check the University's Access Guide to find details of hearing loops in our buildings, including receptions desks, seminar rooms and lecture theatres, and portable loops.
Staff Disability Advisor