Letting The Employer Know You can Do This Job – Hearing Loss, The ADA & YOU!

Written by: Judy Rasin, Audiologist (McGuire’s Hearing Center)

Are you applying for a new job?  To land the right job, you may need some tools to navigate the process.  I’ve pulled together some published advice (Hearing Journal April 2019) as well as resources from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission online resources to offer some tips for job hunting when you have a hearing impairment.

Applying for a job:  Apply only for jobs for which you are qualified.  You are protected by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), which prohibits discrimination against qualified employees with disabilities. That is, you are protected if you have the skills to do the job being offered.  

When do you reveal your hearing loss? How and when to share information about your hearing loss is up to you. You do not need to include this information in your resume. Sometimes “less is more” so that possible misguided assumptions do not prevent you from landing the interview.

A potential employer may not ask about your medical condition, and may not ask whether you have a hearing loss.  The employer can ask if you can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations. Here are some considerations as to when you choose to mention your hearing loss:

*Are phone interviews used to screen candidates? Might you require a relay or captioning service?

*If you expect you will need additional support at an in-person interview, you will need to inform the employer about your hearing loss.  Clarify how many people will attend so that you are prepared in case the acoustics are challenging. If you use a personal ALD, bring it along, explain its function succinctly and move on to the meat of the interview. This way, you present yourself as a take-charge person successfully managing his hearing loss.

Focus on your skills and experience, not your hearing loss:  Advocate for yourself. When you arrive at the interview assess the situation, and if you deem it helpful, make some adjustments in seating, lighting, or extraneous noise.  Neither apologize for your hearing loss, nor dwell on it. Let the employer know you are familiar with the workplace accommodations that work best for you.  Focus on the assets you offer to the company.

Imagine being the employer:  The employer is charged with finding the right candidate for the job.  That’s his job! Yours is to make the case that you can do the job, regardless of your hearing status – you’ve got the skills, experience, assurance, and personality.

Visit the EEOC website https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/qa_deafness.cfm for more information about the EEOC, ADA, and making their protections work for you.  The EEOC website gives extensive information about what an employer may ask, how the employer treats voluntary disclosures, what reasonable accommodations may be expected, and how to address safety concerns.

Speak to us at McGuire’s Hearing Centers so that we can help you bring your best to your employment situation.  The right tools help you get where you want to go.