Published: 14:06, 25 February 2019
| Updated: 09:02, 26 February 2019
Hearing specialists say people with hearing loss across the UK are being forced to quit their jobs while many others are left feeling isolated in the workplace.
Often referred to as a ‘hidden’ disability, medical experts say more needs to be done to ensure that they are given the right kind of backing and support within their working environments.
“Hearing loss has been shown to have a profound impact on people’s views and experiences of the workplace,” said Farah Kiani, who is an audiologist at Hidden Hearing.
“Figures we have from a study by charity group ‘Action on Hearing Loss’ show that a massive 42% of respondents in the survey actually stepped down from their jobs or retired early as a result of their hearing difficulties.
“That sad statistic only goes to show that hearing loss not only forces people to leave their places of employment but also hinders others when it comes to fulfilling their potential.
“That in turn has led to many people feeling isolated at work.”
Some of those struggles in the workplace include fulfilling day-to-day tasks such as using the phone or engaging in conversations with colleagues under challenging or noisy conditions.
Approximately two-thirds (68%) of the respondents in the same study agreed that they sometimes felt shut out at work while 70% of respondents say their conditions prevented them from fully maximising their duty capabilities.
“It’s not right when somebody has to quit their job because their hearing loss is causing them stress or depression in the workplace,” continued Farah.
“One person spoke out about trouble he experienced having discussions with peers and that would often leave him feeling undervalued and underappreciated.”
But the problems are not only confined to within the workplace.
Indeed, 74% (almost 3/4) of respondents felt their employment opportunities were more limited because of their hearing loss.
Employees being forced to exit their jobs due to hearing difficulties can also have a backlash effect on a business’ productivity.
Job bosses could lose skilled workers and then be left with the burden of mounting costs recruiting and training new staff members.
“Employers and businesses need to understand that with the right kind of adjustments and support, hearing loss does not have to be looked upon like some kind of stumbling block in the workplace.
“All they have to do is give those people the support that they need and it will not only pay their business back dividends but also be beneficial to all of their employees too.”
Hearing loss has been linked to problems such as short-term memory loss, depression, diabetes and dementia as well as loss of balance and falls particularly amongst the elderly.
World Hearing Day will take place on Sunday, March 3 and to mark the occasion, Hidden Hearing will launch its Campaign For Better Hearing to highlight the importance of looking after your hearing and the impact that untreated hearing loss can potentially have on you.
A special event to raise awareness will take place in Maidstone to coincide with World Hearing Day during which time free hearing screenings and health checks will take place.
There is also the chance to win state-of-the-art hearing aids.
The initiative aims to encourage people over the age of 55 to have regular hearing tests.
“We always encourage anyone over the age of 55 to get their hearing tested regularly,” concluded Farah.
“It isn’t just about being able to hear better or engage properly in social or family activities; it’s also about reducing the risk of developing other serious health conditions down the line.”
For more information about Hidden Hearing, visit their official website by clicking here.