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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 January 2006, 22:40 GMT
Workers urged to do hearing test
The TUC campaign includes flyers asking "Do you want to hear more?"
Unions are urging workers to check their hearing using a telephone-based hearing test.

The Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID) test aims to encourage the take-up of hearing aids.

The TUC said that as people were working longer, and with more than 40% of people over 50 suffering hearing loss, employees could struggle at work.

It said workers' communication should not be affected by deafness and urged them to take the test on 0845 600 5555.

The RNID estimates four million people are losing their hearing but doing nothing about it.

Good bosses know that it makes sense to do all they can to help employees be as productive as possible at work
Brendan Barber

The charity launched the hearing test in December as part of its Breaking the Sound Barrier campaign.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said employers should encourage their staff to take the test, in the interests of productivity.

"Many older workers are struggling to get by at work either because they are too ashamed to admit to their hearing loss or because they have no idea what to do about it," he said.

"Many may also be reluctant to advertise it for fear that their employers may treat them less favourably as a result.

"But good bosses know that it makes sense to do all they can to help employees be as productive as possible at work and so most will, I'm sure, be keen for their staff to take RNID's hearing check."


RNID chief executive John Low said the phone test was "simple and non-intrusive".

"Both noise-induced and age-related hearing loss can take a real toll on people's confidence in the workplace," he said.

"Simple solutions such as amplified telephones and loop systems for hearing aid users can make the world of difference to someone with a hearing loss and enable employees to perform at their best."

A survey for RNID by pollsters Mori suggested embarrassment was the main reason people did not discuss hearing loss.

The Mori survey - commissioned by the RNID - also indicated that nearly three-quarters of people with impaired hearing who had not consulted a GP or a hearing specialist said they did not think their hearing was "bad enough" to seek help.

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