A hearing aid is a small amplifying device that fits onto the ear of a partially deaf person to help
them hear. According to Hearing Link, around 2 million people use hearing aids in the UK,
although 6.7 million people could benefit from them.
On average, 1 in 6 people in the UK suffers from some level of hearing loss, varying from mild
impediments which make it difficult for an individual to hear in noisy environments to profound
deafness, meaning an individual relies mostly on lip reading and British sign language. If you
believe you have an issue with your hearing, it is vital you see a healthcare professional for
advice. If you do end up requiring hearing aids, it’s natural to ask, ‘is wearing a hearing aid a
disability in the UK?’
Is wearing a hearing aid a disability in the UK?
In short, the answer is yes. However, while a large quantity of people in the UK suffers from
some form of hearing impairment, many of these people do not consider themselves disabled.
According to the Equality Act of 2010, hearing loss is considered a disability if reasonable
adjustments have to be made to the individual’s life.
Workplaces are expected to adjust for members of staff with hearing impairments and must
ensure all staff who require hearing aids have equal opportunity. If you suffer from hearing loss
and specialist equipment is needed in your workplace to assist in your work, you may be eligible
for an Access to Work grant.
According to your rights, RNID service providers are also expected to adjust because the use of
a hearing aid is considered a disability.
When to seek help
If you’re suffering from hearing loss and need more information and advice, it is recommended
you speak to a healthcare professional. If your child is suffering from a potential hearing
impediment, you’re encouraged to get them a hearing test under the NHS as hearing tests are
free for children.
NHS vs private care
When searching for hearing healthcare, you have two options. The first is getting a hearing test
through the NHS, while the second is considering private care. There are several differences
between the two options, making this decision incredibly personal.
The NHS offers free hearing support for both adults and children. However, the NHS can have
waiting times of up to 6 weeks for a hearing test and a further 6 weeks for a hearing aid to be
fitted. The NHS generally provides Behind the Ear (BTE) style aids only.
Private healthcare is often more expensive but for good reason.
Private healthcare providers such as Almond Hearing has shorter wait times of between 1 and 2 weeks as well as a wider range of hearing aid options including the most up-to-date technology. This includes BTE but also inner ear options which are often more discrete. If you have more questions like ‘is wearing a hearing aid a disability in the UK?’, we’re more than
happy to answer them.