Hearing loss and work — Scope | Disability forum

Hearing loss and work

NDrake Member Posts: 2 Listener
edited August 2018 in Work and employment
Hello Donisha,

I suffer from hearing loss which has progressed over the last 10 years or so. I wear hearing aids.

I currently work from home (full time) and mainly use online chat software and e-mail to communicate with colleagues. The work from home was as a result of an office close 2 years ago (not related to hearing) which impacted a number of staff and was in main due to reduce number of satellite offices - i.e. reduce costs. 

The view at the time was to be predominately home based but with visits to client and company HQ office on a business need basis, although that was not incorporated into terms of contract.

My work duties mainly resolve around use excel and specific software. 

Recent occupational health assessment has determined I struggle with face to face comms - (hearing does fluctuate) and rely on lip reading. Phone comms are very difficult or impossible. This is even with use of hearing aids. The report illustrated that the use of online chat and e-mail with comms in written format is most suited to me as is working from home. 

Due to the hearing loss phone comms and visits to offices have reduced significantly, due to my inability to hear effectively. This has become an issue with employer / client, to the point where they are considering adding new employee who would be located at client office and where my duties would change to better suit a non client facing role. Client desires more interaction particularly as they see growth on the account I work on. I would expect that my tasks in this case would be shared with new employee and as the account grows it would benefit.

I have asked employer to define the interactions expected from client - frequency, type etc so that I may research how to solution.

Employer has been generally supportive of my hearing issues as they've worsened but they need to balance this with business needs of the client.

Would be grateful for any insight and would be interested to read of others who have been in similar position.

Thanks for reading.


  • Pin
    Pin Member Posts: 139 Pioneering
    Have you been through access to work? There’s some really useful technology now which can route the phone directly to your hearing aids. I find this really helpful, uou can also get technology for f2f depending on your hearing aids.
  • Donisha_Scope
    Donisha_Scope Scope Support to Work service Posts: 36 Courageous
    edited August 2018
    Hi @NDrake

    Thank you for your enquiry and welcome to the online community. 

    It sounds like your role has changed considerably over the last few years and, as you discussed, is continuing to evolve.

    Are you considering applying for another role which meets your criteria or are you planning to negotiate more suitable options with your current employer?

    If you would like more information on reasonable adjustments, you could visit Scope's Work page which offers lots of advice. 

    Alternatively, you may be interested in registering with Scope's Support to Work service. It offers 12-weeks of digital employment support tailored to meet your needs.

    This includes assistance with identifying your transferable skills, general employment advice and help with boosting your CV and cover letter. 

    If you would like more information on the service, or to register, you can complete an online referral form here.

    Kind regards,

    Scope Employment Advisor
    Phone: 0300 222 5742
    Email: [email protected]
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Posts: 8,847 Connected
    Interesting. They’re pushing towards what? A reasonable adjustment which removes part of your duties? Their evidence for this need is what? Is there some reason the same need couldn’t be met by you having a PA through A2W? 
  • NDrake
    NDrake Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Thanks for the comments. I’ve been through access to work before and didn’t find it particularly helpful to be honest but that was a number of years ago. Prerequisite to access to work is to discuss options with employer first so my status at this moment is to try and come to a best soloution with them. I’m not currently seeking another role as feel that actually my current role is well suited to me and I can perform 95% of day to day tasks. I guess it’s just he client facing and colleague face to face interactions (lack thereof) which are being perceived negatively. 

    I have private hearing aids which have the ability to Bluetooth phone audio to the aid, but unfortunately my hearing loss and distortion is bad that it’s still unclear.

    Its nice to know there are schemes such as scopes support to work as job security is on my mind a lot.

    I know there are speech to text interpreters for hire, I guess the frequent use of those might be expensive though and would fall outside what is considered reasonable. 

    Would be good to hear stories from others who have lost hearing and how they have transitioned from one role to another - what roles best suited them - what adjustments were made etc.
  • Pin
    Pin Member Posts: 139 Pioneering
    I moved from teaching to fundraising in part because of hearing loss. I’ve found A2W very helpful to be honest, it’s worth looking at again.