Getting a great job with a company that appreciates you as part of their community, values your hard work, and allows you to do what you love is hard for just about everyone, but the difficulties are even more complicated for those with hearing loss. With a daunting 47% of deaf or hard of hearing Americans out of the labor force, the challenges are clear. To succeed in the everyday economy, all job seekers must have the right tools at their disposal to make sure their career goals are met, even when applying for positions or navigating an intensive interview. Success for the hard of hearing relies on understanding which tools you need, identifying workplaces that can accommodate those tools, and becoming your own best advocate for ensuring your accommodations are met. Here are three tips for those job hunting with hearing loss:
With the passing of the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), protection for qualified employees with disabilities from discrimination from employers was enshrined in law. Therefore, seeking a position you are qualified for in the form of skills, experience, or education, is paramount to achieving success in the job market and avoiding workplace discrimination. Participating in volunteer work or taking advantage of training opportunities are great ways to receive the skills that are required for your desired position, and making sure you can perform all job duties is critical, as employers are not required to hire you if your hearing loss can make it impossible for you to perform an essential job function.
Understanding job and employer requirements can save you time and headaches when subjecting yourself to stressful applications or interviews for potential jobs. Does your potential employer use phone interviews when seeking out qualified candidates? Will the interview be one on one or in a group? Will you require accommodations for either? Identifying the process your employer uses to seek new candidates and what aspects of your hearing loss will require accommodations can ensure that you are prepared for every step of the job hunting process.
Though understanding job expectations is critical, understanding the law and your rights in regards to hearing disabilities can ensure that you and your employer identify ways that reasonable accommodations can be made and whether your company culture is accepting of your hearing loss. The Americans With Disabilities Act prohibits workplace discrimination based on disability and does not force you to disclose your hearing loss. Deciding whether to notify your employer is based on what makes you comfortable, though in most disability cases, honesty is the best policy to achieve longterm success for both employer and employee.
Once your required accommodations are identified, becoming your own strongest advocate is essential to making sure you meet your career goals. Going through the proper channels of your job or seeking proper legal counsel to receive the accommodations you require will make your employment safer, more productive, and more positive for you and your potential employer. With increasing economic consequences for the high number of hearing disabled Americans out of the labor force, finding the perfect job has never been more important for those with hearing loss.