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Hearing Disability Disclosure

Heather W

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Good morning everyone, 

I would greatly appreciate everyone’s thoughts on something. I may begin looking for alternative employment in the near future. I’ve been at my current job for 14 years. During that time, I’ve gone from functioning without any hearing devices to now being profoundly deaf in one ear and moderate to severe loss in the other. I am a relatively new CI user (18 months) in one ear, and have a hearing aid in the other ear. Because I have long hair, my hearing devices are not visible. 

I would be interested in how/when others have disclosed their hearing loss/device use to potential employers and any impact this has had during the employment seeking process. Thanks. 


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Not sure if it is helpful but our timing for a CI is similar (13 months post-implant).  I have normal hearing in my other ear though.

I'm fortunate to have a stable job as a tenured faculty member but I'm choosing to lean into my CI and leave the cord for the retention clip visible.  If I were looking for an academic position, I would feature the CI and the greater awareness for assisting others. With the increasing age of the US population,, hearing disabilities will become ever more common. 

If I were hiring for my university office staff, I would have no concern as long as they were able to handle thick international accents of students. Wherever you disclose, having something to say demonstrating communication skill would be helpful.

In summary, in my case I would not just disclose it early, I would feature it in my cover letter.  While it might result in a few doors being closed - perhaps that says more about those organizations and it is better to find out in advance.  Furthermore, I expect that it would open more doors than it closes.

Good luck!


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@Heather W the short answer - if and only when it becomes relevant.

When I was an employee I never disclosed my use of hearing aids because I did not need special accommodations - using the phone has always been part of my job.

As an employer when I am interviewing a potential employee my primary concerns are: can they do the job, what kind of person are they and do they fit into my office culture. If they have a disability that might affect their job and they bring it up we'd talk about the accommodations they might need. If there is no need for accommodation then I don't expect them to bring it up. This usually comes up naturally in the interview process.

If you were applying for a receptionist position we are going to talk about phone etiquette and your ability to use the phone all day. If part of your response is that you use a device to connect the phone directly to your CI then we are going to talk about that. While I might be concerned overall I'm going to think favorably about it because you thought of how you fit the role you were applying for. Especially if this happens in an interview where you are also interviewing me to make sure the company fits where you want to be.

If you were applying for a position that doesn't involve much phone use I wouldn't see a reason to disclose the CI. You've already demonstrated your ability to verbally communicate during the interview.

Cover letters. I love cover letters when they tell me how you fit into the company or make me want to find out more about the person. If your cover letter tells me you are a passionate person who saves kittens in your free time then you've got my attention because I want an employee who cares. Unless they are a large institution most employers are going to pass on a resume that includes what they might see as a liability on the cover letter. Doubly so if its not relevant to the job. Yes, some of those are bad employers who you want to pass on but some are just looking through a ton of resumes trying to cut it down to a manageable stack for interviews.

If during an interview the potential employer seems unsure if you can do the job with a CI you could offer to do a working interview.

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I am no expert and I am new to having a CI (activation December 2023).  The time I was Deaf in my left ear to activation was less than one year and I still have "normal" hearing in my right.

I am not sure what your profession is but as long as you could complete your job duties without accommodations I don't think it should be an issue.  If you would need accommodations to complete the job then the employer should allow it due to ADA laws  https://www.ada.gov/ .  Since employers are not supposed to discriminate due to disabilities I don't see why this would be something you should have to disclose.  Please keep in mind I'm not any expert on ADA law.  

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