Reasonable adjustments for people with hearing impairments.
The overall aim of making reasonable adjustments for disabled workers with hearing impairments should be, as far as possible, to remove or reduce any disadvantage faced by a disabled worker. In cases of ‘reasonable adjustment’ it is acceptable to treat disabled people better or ‘more favourably’ than non-disabled people and sometimes this may be part of the solution.
Many people who are deaf or have a hearing loss will be considered disabled under The Equality Act 2010 in Great Britain and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in Northern Ireland so you should be prepared to make some adjustments for them
Here are 3 really straight forward adjustments for you to consider for your workplace
1: Changing a provision.
If the employee with hearing loss is required to sit facing away from their colleagues they will not know when their colleagues are talking to them.
It would therefore be reasonable to allow them to sit where they are able to see their colleagues and therefore feel more included in the team. If it is a requirement for all team members to answer the telephone, invest in some specialist equipment or allow the person with hearing loss to respond to the written correspondence instead.
2: Adjusting physical features.
As well as changing existing provisions, e.g. the layout of an office, you may want to adjust other physical features. For example, hold meetings in locations that have less background noise.
Book a private meeting room rather than holding meetings in crowded communal areas with background noises such as telephones ringing, or conversations taking place.
Providing equipment such as an induction loop and / or amplified or hearing aid compatible telephones could help employees who are deaf or have a hearing loss perform the same tasks as people without hearing impairment.
For more information and really good advice about hearing loss visit ‘Action on hearing loss’