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