HALF of people with hearing loss do not disclose their condition to their employer for fear of ramifications, a new poll suggests.
Action on Hearing Loss surveyed more than 1,000 British adults with deafness or hearing loss and found that 54% had worked for some time without disclosing their hearing loss.
The charity said it is “shocking” that in 2018 people with deafness and hearing loss cannot be open about their condition.
Among those who had not disclosed their condition, 60% said they felt others would assume they were not competent.
A third (33%) said they did not speak freely about their condition for fear of being treated unfairly at work and 42% said there was “no point” because their workplace would be unable to help them.
And 18% said they did not want to disclose their hearing loss for fear of losing their job.
Many of those polled said they had felt stressed or experienced isolation in their workplace.
Paul Breckell, chief executive at Action on Hearing Loss, said: “This new research shows that, despite there being 11 million – that’s one in six – people in the UK living with some form of deafness and hearing loss, many of these in employment are struggling unnecessarily.
“It’s shocking that, in 2018, and despite a lot of work by governments and employers to encourage more inclusivity and accessibility, people with deafness and hearing loss feel they can’t be open about it.
“It seems much of the awareness-raising has neglected to include invisible disabilities like deafness and hearing loss.
The numbers are certainly not helped by working cultures where people are worried about talking openly about their condition and the support they might need.
“The prevalence of hearing loss is only going to increase, so it’s therefore essential that employers take note of these findings and create a working environment where people feel both able and welcome to disclose disabilities and sensory impairments.”