The job-hunting, interviewing, and hiring process can be nerve-racking for almost anyone. If you have hearing loss, however, this process can seem especially intimidating and difficult to navigate. That’s why we’re here to give you some simple, actionable tips on how to successfully apply and interview for jobs as a person with hearing loss.
This question is probably first in your mind:
When do you need to disclose your hearing loss?
Ultimately, the decision of when to disclose your hearing loss to the employer is up to you. As we will discuss below, you do NOT need to disclose your hearing loss in your job application.
You may wish to disclose your hearing loss before an interview if you believe you will need accommodations in order to successfully interview.
As a note, it is important to know that an employer cannot ask you whether you have hearing loss or if you have had a hearing exam. They also cannot ask you about any medical conditions or require you to take a medical exam before making a job offer.
With that big question dealt with, here are a few more tips and points of advice to consider:
When Applying for Jobs:
- This rule applies whether or not you have hearing loss: Only apply for jobs you are qualified for.
- Do not include any untrue information or claims on your resume or application.
- You do NOT need to disclose that you have hearing loss in your resume, application, or cover letter. Employers may not understand the capabilities of a person with hearing loss; do not give them a reason to reject your application without understanding your skills.
- If you feel you a job listing requires more experience than you have, consider an internship or volunteer position.
When Interviewing for Jobs:
- If the employer uses phone interviews and you have difficulty hearing on the phone, you are entitled to request remote Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) when you notify the employer of your hearing loss. If you want to use the assistance of Telecommunications Relay Services, you may want to advise the employer that any delays in responses are due to the technology you are utilizing.
- You are entitled to request CART during an in-person interview as well. You may alternatively use a sign language interpreter if you would like. If you plan to use either of these during the interview process, you will want to advise the employer of your hearing loss and accommodations.
- If you want to use an assistive listening device (ALD), be sure to bring it with you to your interview. Briefly explain the device at the beginning of the interview, and then move on to your skills and qualifications. Focus on why you are qualified for the job rather than focusing on the accommodation.
- If you believe you may need accommodations in the job (e.g., for meetings, phone calls, etc.), you may wish to inform the employer of this during the interview. With this information, the employer can make an informed decision and will also see that you are aware of the accommodations you need in order to succeed.
- Do not feel uncomfortable if you need to ask someone to move during the interview in order to accommodate your hearing loss. For example, you may need to ask someone to change seats or to face the window.
- Do not be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat themselves or clarify what they said. Do not pretend that you heard something that you did not; this may make it appear that you are a poor communicator or cannot appropriately answer questions.
- Don’t apologize for your hearing loss.
- Focus more on your qualifications, skills, and what you will bring to the company than your hearing loss. Convince the employer that regardless of your hearing loss, you will be an asset and will successfully fulfill the job requirements.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (and the Rehabilitation Act for federal government jobs and government contractor jobs) prohibit discrimination against qualified employees with disabilities.
Now, get out there and land that dream job!
If you have any questions about how to live with hearing loss, please feel free to contact our audiologist office today. We are eager to help!