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When do you mention your hearing loss at a job interview?

Job interviews are nerve-wracking experiences at the best of times, a hearing impairment is going to add an extra level of worry to that. So when would you disclose to a potential employer that you are hard of hearing?

121 Captions recently did an excellent article on this, which got me thinking about what I do myself and why.

I mention my hearing loss on my résumé/CV, which is kind of easy for me to do because my CV includes Hearing Aid Know and Audiology Engine.

I can understand people being nervous about mentioning hearing loss upfront as it could be a reason for people to not call you in for an interview. If I was applying for a specific job I would look on the company's website to see if they mention that they are an "equal opportunities employer" or somesuch, that would be a clear signal to me to put my hearing problem in writing upfront. If they don't then I probably still would mention it on the CV anyway.

I guess it depends on how bad your hearing loss is, how well you do with hearing aids (assuming you wear them), ask yourself an honest question: how likely is it that your hearing loss is going to be noticed and/or cause a problem at work?

I've always worked in offices and most of them are open-plan these days, which are very difficult environments to hear in if I didn't disclose my hearing loss to people it would be VERY obvious to them very quickly, better to get it out in the open as quickly as possible in my opinion.

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But going back to the interview, they are high-pressure and nerve-wracking. I've been an interviewer as well as an interviewee and one thing I have noticed from some of the other people interviewing candidates alongside me is that people tend to pick up on the smallest things about the interviewee, things that in normal everyday situations you wouldn't notice, but in a short interview where you need to make a decision on the person with not much info to go on, these things get noticed. I mean people have brought up really stupid things about interviewees: "he kept scratching his arm", "she seems kind of distant", "he said what? a lot", "she didn't make eye contact". 

So I would make sure the interviewer knew about my hearing loss before the interview started to avoid them making wrong assumptions and using it as an excuse not to hire me.

I've never once had someone say, "well, the hearing loss could be a problem", the usual response is "We can work around that. Do you need a special phone? How can we help?". If your hearing problem is out in the open you and the company can make sure you will have the things you need to do the job to the best of your ability, e.g. a power phone, a desk in a corner, etc etc.

Also, during an interview you are going to have a lot of questions fired at you, obviously your answers to those determine whether you get the job, so you need to make sure you hear the questions clearly. If you are struggling to hear you are doing yourself a disservice and maybe costing yourself a job.

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