Resources & Guides

Work better with D/deaf colleagues

5 minutes
5 minutes
At least 4.4 million people with hearing loss are of working age. Understand what to consider if you’d like to work well with your deaf colleague.

The employment rate for those with hearing loss is 65%, compared to 79% of people with no long-term health issue or disability. If you’d like to work well with your deaf colleague, here’s some things to consider:

  • Workspace: If working spaces are flexible - ask the person where they would like to be positioned. A quieter, well-lit area where the person can see what’s going on is likely to be preferable.
  • Communication Preferences: Ask the person their preferred communication methods in various work scenarios e.g. the person may lip read every day but prefer a BSL interpreter if they attend a training course.
  • Equipment: Consider what equipment or professional communication support might be required for them to do their job e.g. amplified phone, headset to fit over hearing aids or BSL interpreter etc. Funding for this may be available from Access to Work.
  • Emergencies: Make arrangements in the event of emergencies. Include what to do in the event of a fire/ evacuation at work and also how the deaf person should contact work if they are unable to come into work due a home emergency.
  • Skills for colleagues: Deaf awareness training for hearing colleagues improves communication skills, confidence and understanding.  It also helps to reduce tension if communication breaks down. Contact us for course details.
Julie delivering virtual training to colleagues of a deaf member of staff. staff
Julie delivering virtual training to colleagues of a deaf member of staff.

Good face to face communication is;

  • Choosing a quiet, well-lit area to have our conversation.
  • Getting my attention first before you start to communicate.
  • Using clear speech, slow down a little and speak firmly. There’s no need to shout.
  • Maintaining eye contact during our communication.
  • Using gestures and be expressive to add meaning to what you’re saying.
  • If you’re showing me a computer screen/ document etc don’t speak whilst I’m looking at it. Wait until I’m ready to communicate again.
  • Following up complex instructions e.g. with an email.
3 individuals enjoying communicating

Remember to make adjustments for formal meetings/training events.

  • Inform the presenter ahead of the event of my communication preferences.
  • Give me information about the event ahead of our meeting so I know the likely vocabulary and follow up with a summary of key points.
  • Set ground rules - ask people to indicate if they are going to speak and then only one person speaks at a time.
  • Seating – for in-person events, ask me where’s best for me.
  • Video clips - use signed/subtitled video clips where possible. Alternatively obtain a transcript of the clip."
In person training event showing 2 tutors and 5 participants all sat down

Work socials

Finally, when it’s time to have some fun, consider my needs at any work social events.


We deliver this training throughout the UK as a face to face courses or virtually. Contact us for details or book a call with us.

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