When you’re seeking employment, going for job interviews can be a daunting process no matter whom you are. But it can feel all the more daunting when you have difficulty hearing. Studies have shown there exists a significant gap between the percentages of jobseekers with full hearing that gain employment over the percentage of successful jobseekers living with hearing loss.
Applicants living with untreated or undiagnosed hearing difficulty could be placing themselves at a greater disadvantage than they may otherwise face if they sought diagnosis and treatment.
Not only are those people with hearing loss less likely to land the job, they are also statistically more likely on average to be to be discriminated against when it comes to promotions and pay. Obviously, we need to end workplace discrimination and strive to make workplaces more inclusive in the long-term, but in the short-term we need to ensure those with difficulty hearing are best equipped to land and keep the job they most want.
There exists a range of equipment and assistive technology to help. Employees and employers can find personal and professional products and equipment such as loop systems, personal listening devices and amplified telephones to help people get the most from their hearing aids and improve communication.
In an interview scenario, make sure your hearing aids or other equipment are fully charged and functioning at optimum capacity. You may also like to ask whether the employer has a loop system that you can use.
There are a number of tactics that can be employed to manage hearing loss and improve communication. These tactics can include knowing how to manage your environment for maximum communication and comprehension, such as the optimum place to sit in a group setting, or being aware of features that contribute to a positive or negative acoustic environment.
The environment of your interview may not be within your control, but if you’ve been up front with your employer they should help to ensure you can see and hear everything they say, and if the room is an echo chamber they may be amenable to switching rooms if you explain the issue.
Read my lips
In addition to hearing aids, which are one of the best forms of support for people living with hearing loss, lip-reading is an incredibly useful skill to possess. Reading lips by learning to recognise lip shapes and patterns can help to fill gaps in conversation by using context clues in order to maximise comprehension.
If you’re not proficient in lip-reading, practice. Pay close attention to the lips and expression of the person addressing you so as not to miss any important interview questions.
Consult a doctor or audiologist and seek a referral for hearing therapy or counselling. These services can provide much needed help and offer advice on practical solutions to assist with the psychological, emotional and health effects of the issues related to hearing loss. In the context of the interview, it’s best to be upfront and tell your prospective employer about your difficulty hearing sound. If they’re the kind of place you want to work, they may very well work harder to speak up, enunciate and face you when addressing you in order to best assist you.
Keeping all of these tactics in mind can help you land the job you want and stay on the right trajectory to achieve your future career goals.