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Reasonable accommodations can aid inclusion, help to overcome communication barriers and ensure visual accessibility and safety.

Suggestions for Workplace Inclusion

  • Ensure meeting spaces have good lighting and visual access to anyone who might be speaking or presenting.
  • Incorporate visual aids and reference materials.
  • Use captioned films and/or video.
  • Install flashing lights that work in union with incoming telephone calls, doorbells or buzzers.
  • Organise for an interpreter if necessary/requested.
  • For training sessions, provide an outline of what to expect.
  • Confirm how deaf and/or hard of hearing employee prefers you to get their attention (tap on the shoulder, a small wave, and so on).
  • Have minutes or notes transcribed and share it for future reference.
  • Watch for signals from deaf or hard-of-hearing employees who want to contribute.
  • Facilitate interactions where one person speaks at a time so deaf/hard-of-hearing members can follow the conversation.
  • Ensure that no one talks with their back to the audience while writing on a board or turning to a presentation screen.
  • Install flashing lights that link to emergency alarms.
  • Conduct emergency evacuation routes and locations during orientation and use a buddy system to alert employees who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.
  • Use text or email to alert deaf of hard-of-hearing employees to an emergency.
  • Inform everyone – especially front-office security and cleaning staff about deaf and hard-of-hearing staff onsite.

Hiring People

Many employers are not necessarily aware of the invaluable contributions that people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing can make to almost any field.

Here are tips and insights to better equip organisations and businesses when hiring people who may be deaf or hard-of-hearing.

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Funding and Employment

In Australia, the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) provides financial assistance for work-related modifications, equipment and services. Their aim is to help people with disability, secure employment and perform their work as independently and productively as possible.

The Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) provides funding assistance for Deaf employees communicating using Australian Sign Language (Auslan):

  • to obtain interpreters for key training or meeting needs
  • for an employee's colleagues to attend training with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to learn Auslan
  • to support a deaf employee at work
  • to provide deaf or hard-of-hearing awareness training for co-workers, teams or the organisation.

Check your eligibility by referring to the guidelines below

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A list of services and organisations that can support deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the workplace.

Not-for-profit organisation that provides services to people living with multiple disabilities, dual sensory loss, Deafblindness

Hearing health programme managed by the Department of Health that aims to reduce the amount and consequences of avoidable hearing loss

National peak advocacy and information organisation in Australia for deaf people who are bilingual (English and Auslan)

Unbiased Assistive Tech advice for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Information and advice service funded by the Australian Government, offering help and workplace solutions for people with disability and their employers.

Employment and training-service provider that supports people with disability to find rewarding work

Australia-wide phone service for people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment. Also available to anyone who wants to call a person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Specialist employment service for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Free employment service that helps people find work, including people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Telstra’s Disability Equipment Programme is for customers who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or blind or are speech, vision, mobility or dexterity challenged.

Specialist employment service Australia-wide helping people who have a disability, injuries and health conditions find employment

Specialist employment service in Adelaide, SA providing tailored support for people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing

Further resources

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Managing deafness or hearing loss at work

An Employers Guide to Employing Someone with Disability [PDF]

Sourced from:

Society for Human Resource Management (opens in a new window)