Talking to Your Employer About Hearing Loss

The Royal National Institute for the Deaf

If you have hearing loss, it’s important to speak to your employer so they can support you at work. Read more about telling your employer and what you can do if you don’t get the support you need.

Hearing loss at work

If your hearing loss develops slowly over time, you may not realise it has an impact on your work straight away.

You might find that you:

  • struggle to follow what people say during meetings
  • often ask colleagues to repeat what they say
  • often misunderstand what is being said
  • find it hard to understand speech over the telephone
  • avoid socialising with colleagues
  • often get confused about which direction sound is coming from.

If you’re experiencing difficulties like this, and haven’t yet been diagnosed with hearing loss, you can get a hearing test. Find out more about diagnosing hearing loss.

If you have hearing loss, it’s important to tell your employer so they can help you get the support and equipment you need at work.

Telling your employer about your hearing loss

It’s best to speak to your manager about your hearing loss, at a time and in a place you’re comfortable with. Explain how your hearing loss affects what you can hear, and the effect it’s having at work.

Your manager should explain your employer’s policy for supporting people with a disability or health condition. They should tell you what the next steps are for making sure you get the support you need.

If you find that your manager isn’t supportive, or responds badly to your hearing loss, you can follow our steps for resolving the issue.

What to if you don’t get support from your employer

If your employer doesn’t support you in the workplace, or give you access to the same opportunities as others because of your hearing loss, this could be discrimination (unfair treatment) under the Equality Act 2010 (or the Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland).

There are steps you can take to try to resolve the issue:

If you follow these steps and still aren’t happy with the outcome, you could consider taking your case to an employment tribunal. This is likely to be a long, expensive, and stressful process. We recommend you get advice from an organisation specialising in disability or employment law before going down this route.

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