When to disclose hearing disablilty to potential employer

judethedude

New Member
When is it ok to disclose hearing disability to a potential employer?

I am profoundly deaf, from birth. I cannot hear at all out of my left ear. I can hear with the help of a hearing aid in my right ear, at about 60% efficiency.

I do not sign. If you were to meet me in person, you would not think I am deaf. Many people comment on that. It is because I do not speak like one. My speech is almost perfect, or that of a hearing person.

I can answer the phones, I can hear most people when having a normal conversation. People just need to enunciate words, and they cant be covering their mouths with their hands, or men with very large mustaches covering their lips, because I read some lips and put the sound together and can understand what is being said most of the time.

Under most normal circumstances, I can perform many job functions without assistance, other then my hearing aid. I sometimes have trouble with the phone, under some certain situations, ie: loud restaurants, lots of background noise, or poor phone sound quality, or poor phone/device quality, can make it difficult for me to converse with the person on the other end of the line.

So, my question is, when is it appropriate to disclose a hearing disability to a potential employer? From my research, and from talking with my job coaches, who I have been working with for the past 11 months to find a job, have told me the following:

on an application, do not disclose, even if it asks if I have a disability. The reasoning is I can (legally) talk about it later, after the fact (after hire).

at the interview. I have been told again, not to disclose the disability, because I am not so disabled that I cant do the job, or need an interpreter or anything like that. I have been told that if i ask for assistance at the interview, the potential employer may immediately flag me as a potential liability, because it will cost them money to "accommodate" my disability. I have been told that if for some reason I feel I need assistance, to bring my own, so that it does not cost the potential employer any money before/during the hiring process.

After being hired. I have been told I can then disclose the hearing disability, so that the employer may take advantage of federal funding, or tax breaks/benefits for hiring a disabled employee. I know this to be especially true for Federal positions/jobs.

So, what is the general consensus on this?

The reason I ask, is because my mother wants me to disclose my hearing disability to my potential employer at the interview phase, so that I might garner "compassion" from them for overcoming my losses and working extra hard by being an overachiever. She wants me to be "honest" with the potential employer, so that they may feel "guilty" if they dont hire me. She claims that if I dont tell them at the interview and tell them later or let them find out later, I may be perceived as "dishonest"

what do you think?
 

Mewtilation

New Member
I get it out of the way up front. Just get it out in the open. I haven't had a new employer in some time now... however, if you hide things they're likely to not choose you anyway. Be honest, upfront and clear the air. If they're going to be ass muffins and discriminate anyway, they're going to do it regardless if you tell them before or after...
 

Nothingless

New Member
If you have confidence you can do the job(s) with or w/o accommodation or that you can adapt to what conditions you will face then it is not something that you need to disclose to an interviewer.
If it's a big corporation that loves tax breaks then check that box on the application, if they automatically weren't going to hire you because of it then they would not ask, and they cant just put it in the circular file because of that.
I talk about it to co-workers when it relates to why I need someone to face me or speak up or repeat, if someone is exceptionally quiet I will preemptively let them know. I give most people a trial to see how they are, how to approach it, and to what extent they should speak up etc.
 

Lau2046

Well-Known Member
When is it ok to disclose hearing disability to a potential employer?

I am profoundly deaf, from birth. I cannot hear at all out of my left ear. I can hear with the help of a hearing aid in my right ear, at about 60% efficiency.

I do not sign. If you were to meet me in person, you would not think I am deaf. Many people comment on that. It is because I do not speak like one. My speech is almost perfect, or that of a hearing person.

I can answer the phones, I can hear most people when having a normal conversation. People just need to enunciate words, and they cant be covering their mouths with their hands, or men with very large mustaches covering their lips, because I read some lips and put the sound together and can understand what is being said most of the time.

Under most normal circumstances, I can perform many job functions without assistance, other then my hearing aid. I sometimes have trouble with the phone, under some certain situations, ie: loud restaurants, lots of background noise, or poor phone sound quality, or poor phone/device quality, can make it difficult for me to converse with the person on the other end of the line.

So, my question is, when is it appropriate to disclose a hearing disability to a potential employer? From my research, and from talking with my job coaches, who I have been working with for the past 11 months to find a job, have told me the following:

on an application, do not disclose, even if it asks if I have a disability. The reasoning is I can (legally) talk about it later, after the fact (after hire).

at the interview. I have been told again, not to disclose the disability, because I am not so disabled that I cant do the job, or need an interpreter or anything like that. I have been told that if i ask for assistance at the interview, the potential employer may immediately flag me as a potential liability, because it will cost them money to "accommodate" my disability. I have been told that if for some reason I feel I need assistance, to bring my own, so that it does not cost the potential employer any money before/during the hiring process.

After being hired. I have been told I can then disclose the hearing disability, so that the employer may take advantage of federal funding, or tax breaks/benefits for hiring a disabled employee. I know this to be especially true for Federal positions/jobs.

So, what is the general consensus on this?

The reason I ask, is because my mother wants me to disclose my hearing disability to my potential employer at the interview phase, so that I might garner "compassion" from them for overcoming my losses and working extra hard by being an overachiever. She wants me to be "honest" with the potential employer, so that they may feel "guilty" if they dont hire me. She claims that if I dont tell them at the interview and tell them later or let them find out later, I may be perceived as "dishonest"

what do you think?
Having been denied many a job in the federal market asking for proof that I was "job worthy," I guess my resume wasn't proof enough of that, I don't mention it. Mention it only when it becomes an issue. Depending on where you're applying you may be able to check a box that says you have a disability and you may decline to describe it. I did this for my last job and I didn't detail what they were until after the fact. Let them see what you can do before telling them what you can't do.

Laura
 

caz12

New Member
I would get it said up front,they need to know in case of fire alarms and that sort of thing other than that and can do the job no problems...You get job on your ability not disability
 

whatdidyousay!

Well-Known Member
I disagree with your mother on trying to get an employer to feel guilty for not hiring you. Maybe before applying for the job try to do a little research on the company and see how they feel about hiring deaf or hoh people. If they are good about it you could tell them right from the start , if they're not good about it tell them 'after' you got the job. You have the ADA Act on your side . I can't find the fact that I am hoh of hearing , I have an 'accent'.
 

Lau2046

Well-Known Member
The reason I ask, is because my mother wants me to disclose my hearing disability to my potential employer at the interview phase, so that I might garner "compassion" from them for overcoming my losses and working extra hard by being an overachiever. She wants me to be "honest" with the potential employer, so that they may feel "guilty" if they dont hire me. She claims that if I dont tell them at the interview and tell them later or let them find out later, I may be perceived as "dishonest"

what do you think?
It's isn't dishonest. You're not mandated to disclose a disability any more than how you voted in the last elections and what church you belong to. It's no one's business. Your Mom sounds like she's been out of the loop for a loooooooong time. No one garners "compassion" by playing the sympathy card. Telling them all your short comings and limitations gives them a reason not to hire you. Put your best foot forward and focus on what you bring to the agency.
 

Nothingless

New Member
I mean, they might have preconceived notions about deafness that cannot be swayed in the length of an interview. Telling them without them having any firsthand evidence of your ability or work ethic to sway them to the contrary may ultimately be detrimental. You have to show them. You don't want to garner compassion, you want to garner respect.
My mom tried to tell me to do the same thing, but she does not understand it as my dad does. I agree with the job coaches and fellow users, though caz12 brings up a valuable point about fire alarms, however this could be addressed after. And mewts point that assmuffins will be assmuffins is most definitely correct, if you want to weed out asshole employers for a career-type job then disclose from the start, haha.
 

Lau2046

Well-Known Member
My mom tried to tell me to do the same thing, but she does not understand it as my dad does. I agree with the job coaches and fellow users, though caz12 brings up a valuable point about fire alarms, however this could be addressed after. And mewts point that assmuffins will be assmuffins is most definitely correct, if you want to weed out asshole employers for a career-type job then disclose from the start, haha.
Fire alarms now, at least where I've worked and work now, the lights blink and there are visual cues unless you miss everyone jumping up and heading to the door at once.
 

DeafDucky

Well-Known Member
I'm going through this right now regarding job hunting. I have heard many different "opinions"/"suggestions" on what to do.

For me... I go with my gut. You can't always determine just how a company "feels" about deafness/disabled people and hiring them...I've never been able to find info on that other than the "BIG" lists some organizations posts- but these are usually for large commercial companies. Some of the companies I've worked for (or really almost all of them) were 'recruiter firms' which means I'd be working at a CLIENT site FOR the recruiting firm. The one 'perm' job I had was a small company.

I've tried many different things. I've left my phone number off my resume so if they email me sometimes I can get them to (or try to) just email with me. Many times they STILL insist on a phone #. Then when I try to say, no I need to use email, quite a few times the communications just abruptly stop.

SO.. when I DO give them my cell # (I can hear fairly well..*cough* horrible speech discrim scores aside...*cough* with hearing aids)...this doesn't always works out.. depends on who I get on the other end.. male voices are the worst for me... add on a thick accent and I'm in deeeeeeep shit. Those job leads quickly go out the window because I could not do well on the 'chat'/interview no matter HOW well my job skill set matches their wants (sometimes they've been down to a T!).

I've also tried using text relay...that bombed badly. Most don't really get it and it's painfully slow (for me anyway). Today I tried using VRS for a potential job lead that I had applied for a few weeks ago. She was quite amenable and didn't seem scared off. It went very well and the conversation went normally and smoothly (I used VCO). Have to say having the interpreter there was aces.

So..like Mew, I'm laying it out on the line more and more as I swear my hearing is getting worse (plus failing 9 year old hearing aids), I'd rather have it out there so they KNOW, not omit it then have major difficulties during any interviews (phone or in person- they'll see the hearing aids there :P) and make them think I am not capable for the job. So, I try to impress on them my skills, desires etc in emails and my resume (reminds me I need to play 'let's tweak this resume!' this week).

It's really up to you and how YOU feel about your situation and how to apply it to each interview, opportunity, email etc.

Don't know if that helps but that's my view and perspective. I've been down the "looking for a new job" path too many times to count (due to contract work). I DO know that many times not alerting whoever contacted me hurt me in many ways the last time I was out of work for ~3 years (that and horrible IT job market). This time I'm learning from my mistakes and listen to my deaf friends' experiences too.

Final thought though- if the company/HR person is aware and they STILL abruptly stop communicating or 'decide to go with another candidate' (yes that's happened to me.. generic reply for whatever reasons- they never tell you), maybe...just maybe it might not be a good company to work for. My last employer & client site was VERY open to assisting me where needed and they knew about my deafness (hearing loss..whatever) during the interview process.
 

paperclip

Member
I err on the side of not mentioning hearing loss at interviews - as I want my resume to speak louder for me. While I don't mention it, I think it is fairly obvious in most (if not all) interviews that I've had because I always request captioning for a phone interviews - so I'm sure those who interview me figure it out through my deaf accent and captioning request.

I shot myself in the foot during an interview because they asked if I would be comfortable talking to international/visiting folks and I said no because I can't understand thick accents very well. So don't do that! The HR person (whom I had gotten on good terms during the lengthy interview process and unfortunately told me I didn't get the job) told me to get the job first and then deal with the hearing loss. He stressed to not let it be an excuse why I would not consider a task or role within a job, told me to remain positive and upbeat. He also told me to make sure the accessibility request (phones, fire alarms) goes to the HR office, not your supervisor. If you make your supervisor's job harder through request, they might be discouraged from hiring other people with disabilities.

That is my limited experience. Good luck!
 

DeafDucky

Well-Known Member
Yes- requests for services and equipment normally go through the HR department but if you are on a contract job (many IT jobs are like this), the request does have to go through your employer liaison with the client company. I know I've talked to my manager and/or Team Lead too in regards to needing specific items (or suggestions) as I am not allowed to contact the client site's HR or the department that is responsible for contractors working there.
 

MangaReader

Active Member
I err on the side of not mentioning hearing loss at interviews - as I want my resume to speak louder for me. While I don't mention it, I think it is fairly obvious in most (if not all) interviews that I've had because I always request captioning for a phone interviews - so I'm sure those who interview me figure it out through my deaf accent and captioning request.

I shot myself in the foot during an interview because they asked if I would be comfortable talking to international/visiting folks and I said no because I can't understand thick accents very well. So don't do that! The HR person (whom I had gotten on good terms during the lengthy interview process and unfortunately told me I didn't get the job) told me to get the job first and then deal with the hearing loss. He stressed to not let it be an excuse why I would not consider a task or role within a job, told me to remain positive and upbeat. He also told me to make sure the accessibility request (phones, fire alarms) goes to the HR office, not your supervisor. If you make your supervisor's job harder through request, they might be discouraged from hiring other people with disabilities.

That is my limited experience. Good luck!
This is probably good for those who are deaf/HoH who can pass for a hearing person during an interview. I understand that. But there are a lot of us deaf people that cannot pretend to be a hearing person. I don't talk like one and I can't lipread 100% so right off the bat during an interview I have to say I am deaf. I have no choice.

Recently I applied to volunteer. For the first time I disclosed that I was deaf on the application. I figured I had nothing to lose. Either they call me or they don't. Who cares. On the application I said I was deaf and don't want to work directly with people/customers. I got a response and they want me to come in. I wish I could do this for job hunting but it is not realistic.
 

mikemike

Member
Did you use Schedule A? that how the hiring authorities know you have a disability

Having been denied many a job in the federal market asking for proof that I was "job worthy," I guess my resume wasn't proof enough of that, I don't mention it. Mention it only when it becomes an issue. Depending on where you're applying you may be able to check a box that says you have a disability and you may decline to describe it. I did this for my last job and I didn't detail what they were until after the fact. Let them see what you can do before telling them what you can't do.

Laura
 

mikemike

Member
Disclose earlier.
Under the ADA, it is illegal to ask for any application form whether you're disabled. Since there is no affirmative action requirement.

on an application, do not disclose, even if it asks if I have a disability. The reasoning is I can (legally) talk about it later, after the fact (after hire).
 
Well, I had a job interview on Monday. Interview went ok right the way through, I liked what the Interviewer was saying and he seemed to take onboard my reasons for wanting to work for him.
So we get to the end of the Interview, and he hasn't mentioned my HA's and I haven't mentioned my hearing loss to him,
So I say "You've probably noticed I wear Hearing Aids, I feel I should mention this, but can assure you that they don't affect my work nor cause any health and safety issues in this work environment. I don't have a huge hearing loss, just need a bit of extra volume"
He said "I hardly noticed them, I figured that since you were hearing me ok and didn't ask me to repeat myself or anything then I guess they won't be an issue. I suppose they're just like glasses for the ears"
I'll know if I get the job soon hopefully!
 

DeafDucky

Well-Known Member
Awesome! I hate when having to ask them to repeat :(. On one hand it does look bad but on the other it does show that I want to make sure to give the right information rather than looking a fool and saying something completely opposite to the question asked (I think this is what happened with two interviews I had last year via phone- a group interview to boot).
 
When is it ok to disclose hearing disability to a potential employer?

I am profoundly deaf, from birth. I cannot hear at all out of my left ear. I can hear with the help of a hearing aid in my right ear, at about 60% efficiency.

I do not sign. If you were to meet me in person, you would not think I am deaf. Many people comment on that. It is because I do not speak like one. My speech is almost perfect, or that of a hearing person.

I can answer the phones, I can hear most people when having a normal conversation. People just need to enunciate words, and they cant be covering their mouths with their hands, or men with very large mustaches covering their lips, because I read some lips and put the sound together and can understand what is being said most of the time.

Under most normal circumstances, I can perform many job functions without assistance, other then my hearing aid. I sometimes have trouble with the phone, under some certain situations, ie: loud restaurants, lots of background noise, or poor phone sound quality, or poor phone/device quality, can make it difficult for me to converse with the person on the other end of the line.

So, my question is, when is it appropriate to disclose a hearing disability to a potential employer? From my research, and from talking with my job coaches, who I have been working with for the past 11 months to find a job, have told me the following:

on an application, do not disclose, even if it asks if I have a disability. The reasoning is I can (legally) talk about it later, after the fact (after hire).

at the interview. I have been told again, not to disclose the disability, because I am not so disabled that I cant do the job, or need an interpreter or anything like that. I have been told that if i ask for assistance at the interview, the potential employer may immediately flag me as a potential liability, because it will cost them money to "accommodate" my disability. I have been told that if for some reason I feel I need assistance, to bring my own, so that it does not cost the potential employer any money before/during the hiring process.

After being hired. I have been told I can then disclose the hearing disability, so that the employer may take advantage of federal funding, or tax breaks/benefits for hiring a disabled employee. I know this to be especially true for Federal positions/jobs.

So, what is the general consensus on this?

The reason I ask, is because my mother wants me to disclose my hearing disability to my potential employer at the interview phase, so that I might garner "compassion" from them for overcoming my losses and working extra hard by being an overachiever. She wants me to be "honest" with the potential employer, so that they may feel "guilty" if they dont hire me. She claims that if I dont tell them at the interview and tell them later or let them find out later, I may be perceived as "dishonest"

what do you think?
judethedude-

First off- cool username :cool2:

Secondly, your situation sounds exactly like mine was before I recently experienced more hearing loss.

I never said anything about my deafness at interviews. I interacted normally and I passed as hearing. If I was hired, then I would tell my supervisor if needed. The
"accommodations" I needed at the time were minimal. Basically, let me turn the volume up on my phone to the max if needed, and don't start a conversation with me if your back is turned (though likely I could understand part of what someone said if their back was turned, it wouldn't be 100%). I was confident I could do all those things related to the job so there was no need to ask. It was never an issue. So if you're confident you can do all the things the job entails with relative ease, why open a can of worms at the interview? Assuming the job doesn't require normal hearing for safety things like law enforcement, etc. It just invites more doubt IMHO when an interview should be all about your abilities and positive traits and accomplishments. I think your mother is coming from a genuinely concerned place but I don't think she's right in this situation. Hope this helps!
 
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