Despite the toughening up of disability equality legislation, deaf and hard of hearing people are still facing discrimination when seeking work, it has been claimed.

GP and medical broadcaster Dr Hilary Jones said many of those with hearing impairments feel they are treated unfairly compared to other candidates.

He said the problem is worse for those who are severely or profoundly deaf.

However, he added: “Even for people with hearing problems, they might be stigmatised if they are seen wearing a hearing aid.”

Dr Jones pointed out that one in five adults in the UK have hearing difficulties, making up a substantial proportion of the country’s working population.

With this in mind, stamping out discrimination against deaf and hard of hearing people is essential for employers.

A hearing impairment is classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010, which replaced most of the Disability Discrimination Act following its introduction in October last year.

The legislation provides rights for people not to be directly discriminated against because they have a disability such as a hearing impairment.

It also provides rights for people not to face discrimination because they have an association with someone who is disabled, or because they are wrongly perceived to have a disability.