by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A man that was laid off and is now seeking a new job asked:
In a job interview how does one bring up, explain or otherwise relate one’s hearing loss to a possible job, especially when hearing is critical to the job?
In spite of whatever the law might say regarding asking about disabilities, employers still want to know whether your hearing loss will affect your ability to do the job you are applying for.
To put the odds in your favor, you have to demonstrate that you have already figured out how you will effectively cope with your hearing loss on the job. When you do this, your hearing loss basically becomes a non-issue. Now your prospective employer can focus on your knowledge, skills and experience in trying to select the best qualified candidate for the job.
When you show that you know how to successfully cope with your hearing loss, and that you have work-arounds for those difficult hearing situations, the interviewers may think “This guy knows what he needs and knows how to overcome in spite of his hearing loss. Bet he will do the same in other areas of his work too. This is the kind of guy we want!”
So, in my opinion, it is best if you be up-front and tell them you have a hearing loss. Then emphasize it is really a non-issue because here is how you cope with it, and all you will need is…. (e.g. special phone that only costs $x.xx, etc.)
Prospective employers like to know ahead of time how much they will be on the hook for in order to meet your special needs. If you show them that it is really a trivial amount compared to your worth to the company, they will be much more likely to hire you.