When to disclose hearing disablilty to potential employer

deafguy2013

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?
I am exactly like you, except I'm deaf in my right ear and can hear maybe 40 to 50% out of my left with a hearing aid.

In all the jobs I have had I have disclosed my hearing impairment in the initial interview and have not been turned down for a job yet due to my hearing disability, far as I know anyway.

I read lips and can sometimes have a conversation with people if I'm not looking at them but only if there isn't any background noise. Wind is my enemy. I work outside and any wind creates an annoying feedback sound that drowns out anything else.

The job I have now I've been at for 12 years. I told my boss in the first interview about my hearing and left no doubt that it won't impact how I do my job.

Some bosses may be jerks and think someone with a hearing disability is a liability and/or can't do the job the same as or better than a hearing person. Blasphemy
 

PinkRibbonAngel

New Member
evening all! I realize that this post is over six months old, but I really appreciated the information, as I re-enter the work world (1st job search since being diagnosed as HoH).

Any new ideas or experiences to share regarding job hunting, interviews and asking for accommodations?

thank you.
 

Lau2046

Well-Known Member
evening all! I realize that this post is over six months old, but I really appreciated the information, as I re-enter the work world (1st job search since being diagnosed as HoH).

Any new ideas or experiences to share regarding job hunting, interviews and asking for accommodations?

thank you.
How severe is your hearing loss?
 

sonocativo

Well-Known Member
I never talk about it to the employer or HR, I do however put it on the application.
If they dont bring it up and you get hired, later down the road if anything arises you are covered as you did disclose it in your application.
I went through this with my employer, they asked how I got the job with my hearing issue? I simply replied, I wrote it on my application and they called me and hired me. Your application should be kept in your files.
 

MangaReader

Active Member
I never talk about it to the employer or HR, I do however put it on the application.
If they dont bring it up and you get hired, later down the road if anything arises you are covered as you did disclose it in your application.
I went through this with my employer, they asked how I got the job with my hearing issue? I simply replied, I wrote it on my application and they called me and hired me. Your application should be kept in your files.
I've never put it on applications. Never had any issues after being hired. I understand what you are saying though. I would like to put it down but that would deter them away. I want them to find out I'm deaf at the interview and give me a chance.

Recently I applied at a place and there was a page in the application where it asked if I had a disability. There were three options: No, Yes, I don't want to disclose. The paper listed variety of disabilities such as deaf, blind, seizures, depression, many others. They explained that they hope we would be honest and blah blah. After thinking about it, I decided to say yes.

I got a call an hour after submitting the application. Unfortunately I put down my relay number instead of Google Voice. Once they found out it was a relay number, they didn't leave a message. I found out they called because relay tells me the number called from. I had a hearing person call them for me to find out what it was and they said that they were reviewing applications. It's been 3 weeks and nothing so it's possible lost it because of the relay. Be damned if you do and if you don't.
 

Lau2046

Well-Known Member
I've never put it on applications. Never had any issues after being hired. I understand what you are saying though. I would like to put it down but that would deter them away. I want them to find out I'm deaf at the interview and give me a chance.

Recently I applied at a place and there was a page in the application where it asked if I had a disability. There were three options: No, Yes, I don't want to disclose. The paper listed variety of disabilities such as deaf, blind, seizures, depression, many others. They explained that they hope we would be honest and blah blah. After thinking about it, I decided to say yes.

I got a call an hour after submitting the application. Unfortunately I put down my relay number instead of Google Voice. Once they found out it was a relay number, they didn't leave a message. I found out they called because relay tells me the number called from. I had a hearing person call them for me to find out what it was and they said that they were reviewing applications. It's been 3 weeks and nothing so it's possible lost it because of the relay. Be damned if you do and if you don't.
If you select yes, always opt not to disclose. I find that it's usually the deaf, blind, etc. choices but nothing really for learning disability, and for me, that's just as much a disability, more so, than my hearing. I think they call it "mentally challenged." Since I know that term can include just about everything, I typically select "not listed." The best place to introduce your disability, if needed, is during the interview when they can see how you conduct yourself in person. People judge and they make assumptions so don't let them - they'll just bump you out of the list of eligible candidates. Only disclose when it's brought up.
 

goodonya

Well-Known Member
I like this advice Lau. It turns it into a possible item for discussion rather than a judgement decision before the actual interview, if it happens.
Most of us have ways that compensate for our situations and have that work ethic that is part of relentlessly overcoming adversity.

Because of the nature of my job it is a big responsibility for me to be a high quality worker, it is what I can do that makes me valuable. That has
to win out over my lousy personality and poor suction technique which are way bigger detriments than my inability to hear.
 

DeafDucky

Well-Known Member
I always wonder about those EEOC things- the one with gender, race, vet status and more frequently I am also seeing disabled status. Half the time I don't know whether it's worth doing or not. It is claimed that the answers I give would have nothing to do with the interview/hiring process just data aggregation or whatever. On one hand I don't want to tip my hand too soon- on the other.. many companies want to hire disabled employees for whatever reasons (tax write off or honestly want to have a diverse workplace etc) so why not say so- get my ass in the door lol.

Navigating the whole work experience these days is a lot more convoluted than it used to be though when I first started out I had to rely on phone and postal mail heavily. Ironically I STILL have to deal with phone because recruiters like to push the "must do this nownownowNOW! so please call me NOW!" (uh uh... then I wind up waiting 2 months only to find I got passed over anyway! lol) especially in the IT field for contract work.
 

chelsiwylie

New Member
I waited until after the interview. Still in college but working full time at an elementary. It's funny and annoying when people notice my HAs then start yelling loudly. Being HoH has been an interesting transition. Hope you got the answer you were looking for. I think disclosure is important but not top priority because your value as an employee doesn't rest solely on your ability to hear but your ability to work.
 

cejohnso

New Member
Do not discuss your disability or accommodations at job interviews.

When you get hired then you can discuss your disability and what reasonable accommodations you would like.

The interview is for you to discuss your strengths and what you have to offer to the employer, and other questions related to the job you are being interviewed for.
 

mikemike

Member
when asking for interpreters before the interview, that is showing your disability and the type of accommodations.

Do not discuss your disability or accommodations at job interviews.

When you get hired then you can discuss your disability and what reasonable accommodations you would like.

The interview is for you to discuss your strengths and what you have to offer to the employer, and other questions related to the job you are being interviewed for.
 

cejohnso

New Member
You may be right but we have a right to request interpreter and when they ask why, we cannot discuss it. By ADA, they are required to provide one without question.

Double edged sword but I have been there before and got through with several without any problems. It is about educating yourself how the law works and how to educate others when they violate it. At work I get interpreters when needed, they don't question me.

when asking for interpreters before the interview, that is showing your disability and the type of accommodations.
 

Bottesini

Old Deaf Ranter
Premium Member
You may be right but we have a right to request interpreter and when they ask why, we cannot discuss it. By ADA, they are required to provide one without question.

Double edged sword but I have been there before and got through with several without any problems. It is about educating yourself how the law works and how to educate others when they violate it. At work I get interpreters when needed, they don't question me.
:lol: What? Of course you can discuss it! You make that choice.

And if you don't tell them you need an interpreter because you are deaf??

So they just pick any type interpreter, Vietnamese? Spanish?

Are you some kind of disability rights bully?
 

Karen-in-Japan

New Member
don't employersget subsidies for hiring the disabled? And large companies are required to hire a certain minimum % of disabled employees.So it could help get you in the door to disclose
 

mikemike

Member
Karen
no subsidies. Small companies get tax credit
there is no affirmative action requirements in the ADA so there is no % quota.

don't employersget subsidies for hiring the disabled? And large companies are required to hire a certain minimum % of disabled employees.So it could help get you in the door to disclose
 

danimart62

New 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).
Hi! I am new here and just read your post. I am going through this now. I have applied to many jobs and have disclosed - during application - that I have a disability. Even though I am fully qualified I am getting rejections. I am going to start saying 'No' to the disability question to see if I can get some call backs.
 

Maryxxx

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

Here's my experience. I have been a legal assistant for many years. One pi for six years, a large firm for eight years, and several small jobs. I recently got the opportunity for a probate job. I have no probate experience. They had a person who had very minimal probate helping me with probate. Of course it was a disaster. My hearing loss is mild to moderate. I do not experience hearing difficulties. After two weeks as a temp to perm, and we discussed me hearing loss and HA, the office environment changed. Hearing impaired people are naturally waiting for the ball to drop. It dropped. I spent three weeks in a welcoming office environment - and another three feeling I am being paranoid. In week 6 I found out the info she was giving me for probate (when to do what, filings) was incorrect. After week six they called me in and told me my skill level wasn't what they expected it to be. I think after week 3 they were hoping I would leave. This is a small law firm, and I think it made them uncomfortable. My feeling is, it is not my job to educate people on hearing loss and is not my job to attempt to change people's perceptions of HA people.
 
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