How workplaces can create more inclusive environments for employees with deafness and hearing loss | The Conversation

Hearing loss is a critical diversity, equity and inclusion issue for managers and employers. Persons with hearing loss are a growing population around the world. According to the World Health Organization, over five per cent of the world’s population — or 430 million people — have disabling hearing loss. This number is expected to rise to over 700 million by 2050.

Despite the increasing number of persons with hearing loss in the workplace, only 20.6 per cent of Canadians with hearing loss are employed full-time. Discrimination, a lack of accessibility and isolation still prevent equity and inclusion at work. Persons with hearing loss also experience higher levels of stress and fatigue and earn lower incomes.

Persons with hearing loss have diverse preferences and skills that can affect their career outcomes. Knowledge of disability, reasonable workplace accommodations, effective communication skills and support from mentors and peer networks all contribute to positive career outcomes.

However, experiences can vary greatly by hearing loss type and job demands. For example, sign language users may have more access to Deaf communities and resources, but less access to mainstream opportunities. Spoken language users may have more access to mainstream opportunities, but less access to Deaf communities and resources.

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