Many are under the impression that finding a job or career when you suffer from being deaf or hard of hearing isn’t easy. However, when you have the proper tools and the right attitude, it can be a lot easier.
- There are government-funded systems that help people with disabilities have equal access to workplaces. You can have your communication support paid for by the government, assisting agencies, and your employers.
- Openly explain what your methods of communication are with your co-workers and invite them to ask questions about your deafness. This will not only break down the barriers between you and the rest of your workers, but it will also spread awareness of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Culture!
- Use a stress ball or something that you can pass around to develop more control during meetings. Whenever a person is speaking, they are the ones holding the ball, and when a new speaker starts, the ball is passed on. Not only does this allow you to constantly see who is speaking, but it also prevents people from trying to speak over one another.
- Baby Monitors make good devices to alert oneself when there are noises around, or when the office doorbell rings on a day in which reception is closed.
- Ask your coworkers to jot down the main points of meetings so that they can be recapped to you later if you’re unable to keep track of all the talking.
- Ask your manager if a sign language interpreter can attend important meetings.
- Openly tell people you are working with, clients or coworkers, that you are deaf or hard of hearing. This will avoid confusion from both parties, as you can then work out a different mode of communication if necessary.
- Speak up if you are having problems following conversations. If you don’t understand what is being said, there is nothing wrong with asking for help. This will also remind those present that they should accommodate to your needs, as well.
- Choose where you work very carefully, so that you can see everyone in the office or workspace.
- Don’t worry about trying to make hundreds of friends in the workspace. Focus on making one or two close friends, and meet with your manager regularly, so that you are fully aware of what is going on at work.
- Ask your manager if you can give your co-workers some deaf awareness training to ensure that communication and support is in place.
Job Searching Advice
- Make use of job sites that are specifically made for people with disabilities:
These sites match people with disabilities to employers.
- Make sure you know your rights when it comes to hiring and discrimination.
- Do not mention your hearing loss if it does not require accommodations to complete the job for which you are applying. You can leave this off of your cover letter and resume.
- Hearing aids, when already properly fitted, will make your job hunt much easier when it comes to telephone and in-person interviews.
- Stay positive, negativity will show through your interview. Don’t worry about what an employer might think about your hard of hearing, as many can’t even tell.
- Have a positive attitude during interviews. Don’t focus on what you may not be able to do. Instead, tell the interviewer about all the things you can do.
- When asked why a company should hire you remind them that people with disabilities are loyal and very reliable employees, you included, and that your inability to hear does not reflect your intelligence level.
- If you struggle with writing English, try improving your skills, as it will strengthen your work skills.