Workers urged to take hearing testOver 40% of over 50s affected

02 January 2007

Side of person's head

Staff are urged to check their hearing as they return to work after the festive break.

The TUC along with the charity Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID), calls on people worried about their hearing to telephone a special helpline.

The TUC says many workers are reluctant to admit they have a problem over concerns it might affect their career.

General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘Hearing loss is a real problem at work for many employees, who may be reluctant to own up to the fact that they can't hear as well as they used to be able to because they are worried that they may be sidelined as a result.

‘Employers should be supportive to staff who are losing their hearing and encourage them to take this important check, without fear of being treated less favourably, whatever the outcome.’

John Low, Chief Executive of the RNID, said: ‘Hearing loss can have a significant impact on employees' abilities to interact with colleagues, managers and clients.

Staff may become 'isolated and withdrawn'

‘Staff may be hiding their hearing loss which can lead them to become increasingly isolated and withdrawn.

‘They may feel excluded from conversations and office banter simply because they are losing their hearing.’

Over 40 per cent of people over 50 have some level of hearing loss, according to estimates, and the RNID said four million people could improve their hearing by wearing a hearing aid.

People can check their hearing in just five minutes by calling 0845 600 5555.