Hearing impaired person at his workplace communicates with a hearing person via a Video Relay Service video interpreter (shown on-screen), using a videophone

Hearing loss: at work

In the UK, Jobcentre Plus is the main provider of support for disabled people looking for work.

Looking for work

Within each Jobcentre is a Disability Employment Adviser (DEA), who can help you:

  • Find a job;
  • Find job related training;
  • Find disability friendly employers; and
  • Refer you to a work psychologist, if appropriate.

Work Choice

Your DEA can also advise you on programmes to help you get into work, which include Work Choice—a government supported employment programme built specifically to help you find a job and offers support when you start work. It includes:

  • Training and help in developing your skills;
  • Support in building your confidence; and
  • Interview coaching.

Please note, the level of assistance provided depends on what you need and varies from person to person. Find out more about What you'll get from the Work Choice section of GOV.UK.

Specialist Employability Support

Specialist Employability Support provides mentoring and training to disabled people who do not qualify for other government schemes like Work Choice. To receive Specialist Employability Support, you must have a disability or health condition, be unemployed and of working age.

Depending on your needs, two types of support are available:

  • Short-term support and training which typically lasts for around three months; and
  • Long-term help usually lasting for 12 months.

You are allowed to choose the organisation that supports you, whether it is your local Jobcentre Plus or a specialist disability employment agency.  

Check out the Specialist Employability Support section of GOV.UK to find out more about the scheme.

Two Ticks

When looking for work, remember to search out Two Ticks—the "positive about disabled people" symbol—on vacancy lists and ads in England, Scotland and Wales. (Note: the symbol is not used in Northern Ireland.) This Jobcentre Plus programme supports employers who wish to hire disabled people. These employers must:

  • Interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for a job vacancy and consider these applicants based on their abilities;
  • Discuss with disabled employees, at any time but at least once a year, how to develop and use their abilities;
  • Make every effort when employees become disabled to make sure they stay in employment;
  • Take action to ensure that all employees develop the appropriate level of disability awareness needed to make these commitments work; and
  • Review these commitments every year and assess what has been achieved, plan ways to improve on them and let employees and Jobcentre Plus know about progress and future plans.

Disclosing your disability

Looking for work can be difficult, and some potential employers might seem dismissive of people with disabilities. Remember, it’s against the law for employers to discriminate against you because of a disability. However, your potential employer may ask if you have a health condition or disability on an application form or in an interview; whether or not you disclose your disability is entirely up to you.

If you do decide to make your potential employer aware of your disability, you would be entitled to reasonable adjustments during the interview. In which case, don’t hesitate to ask for a BSL interpreter, a loop system or other assistance.

For additional practical advice on handling a job interview, check out the article entitled Top Interview tips for people with hearing impairments, which appears on the University of Salford Manchester’s Postgraduate Careers Blog. And to find out more about disclosing your disability, visit the Disability rights section of the GOV.UK website.

In the workplace

When you are in work, your employer needs to make whatever reasonable adjustments are necessary to ensure that you are on par with your non-disabled peers in the workplace. These may include:

  • Purchasing equipment (such as adapted telephones with adjustable volumes and lights);
  • Providing information in accessible formats;
  • Making changes to your working environment (like putting your desk in a quiet area that is away from distracting noises); and
  • Adjusting your working hours.

Access to Work

Access to Work is a grant programme run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This government funded initiative has been set up to provide practical advice and financial support for disabled people who are employed, self-employed or about to start a job. Access to Work is designed to support disabled people to help them:

  • Start working;
  • Stay in work; and
  • Become self-employed or start a business.

Jobs can be part-time, full-time, temporary or permanent and coverage has recently been extended to include traineeships, supported internships, work trials and work academies.

The scheme helps you overcome disability barriers by helping to pay for work related costs such as special aids or adaptations you might need at work, a support worker to help you do your job or help with travel if you have difficulties using public transport.

Grants are for practical support that is over and above employers’ legal requirements to make reasonable adjustments. Access to Work grants are tailored to meet individual needs and are not means tested, so they don’t need to be paid back and don't affect other benefits.

Access to Work grants provide funds towards the costs of equipment or travel to work. You may also be eligible for funding towards the cost of a Communication Professional or Language Service Professional for situations such as work meetings, job interviews and other situations. These specialists provide services like speech to text reporters, electronic note takers, sign language interpreters and other communication professionals. To book an accredited communications professional, visit the website for the National Registers of Communication Professionals.

Visit the Access to Work section of GOV.UK to find out more about the programme in general. For specific information about eligibility, visit the Disability Grants site and read the Access to Work section. And to find out how to challenge an Access to Work claim, visit the DeafATW site.

Finally, for help looking for a job, visit the Employment & Career Support section of the Deafplus.org website.

Job loss and support

If you lose your job or are about to lose your job, your disability should not be a factor. The Royal Association for Deaf People (RAD) offers Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) services on employment (and other topics as well). IAG services are delivered in sign language, and requests for assistance with job loss and support can be made by sending an email to referrals@royaldeaf.org.uk

Redundancy

Before your employer considers redundancy, they should go through a consultation process and take reasonable steps to include you. Your employer cannot select you for redundancy simply because you are disabled. They must go through a fair and balanced process that does not put you at a disadvantage because of your disability. To find out more, please visit the Redundancy section of the GOV.UK website.

Retirement

In the same way that employers cannot select you for redundancy due to your disability, they are unable to ask you to retire before you are legally required to do so. To find out about planning for your retirement, please visit the Retirement section of the GOV.UK website.

Dismissal

Your employer is unable to dismiss you for reasons related to your disability. To find out more about being dismissed from your job, please visit the Dismissal section of the GOV.UK website.

Know your rights

Under the Equality Act 2010, employees and job seekers with disabilities are legally protected against discrimination. From the initial recruitment process to promotion and pay along with accessibility in the workplace, it is vital that you are clear on your position and cover.

For more information about your employment rights, please check out the following sites:

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