Employment: Hearing Impairment

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 4th November 2020.

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Photo of Lilian Greenwood Lilian Greenwood Chair, Finance Committee (Commons), Chair, Finance Committee (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of people (a) with hearing loss, and (b) who list their primary medical condition as difficulty in hearing who were (i) in employment, (ii) economically inactive and (iii) unemployed in the last 12 months.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The latest available statistics are for the year 2018/19. These show that of working age disabled people who self-reported difficulty with their hearing there were 38% (166,000) in employment and 62% (270,000) not in employment in the UK. Amongst those who reported difficulty with their hearing, 61% (42,000) were in employment and 39% (27,000) were not in employment who self-reported reported difficulty with their hearing as their main health condition.

These figures are shown in table 3.3 of ‘The employment of disabled people 2019’ official statistics publication which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/the-employment-of-disabled-people-2019. The next release of these statistics, covering 2019/20, is due in Spring 2021.

The not in employment category includes people who are unemployed and economically inactive. Reliable estimates for these two sub-categories are not possible due to small sample sizes.


Source: Annual Population Survey, April 2018 to March 2019.


  • Reliable data on ‘Difficulty with hearing’ is only available using annual estimates due to sample sizes.
  • Numbers shown are to the nearest 1,000 percentages to the nearest 1 per cent.
  • Figures are for the working age population, comprised of people aged 16 to 64.
  • Disability is defined according to the Government Statistical Service harmonised standard, in line with the Equality Act 2010 core definition.

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