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How do you get a job with hearing loss?


Learning Bytes Blog - How to Succeed In Training With a DisabilityStarting a new career can be intimidating. You may doubt your ability to learn a new skill or that there will be companies and people out there who are willing to give you a chance. This process can be even more daunting when you have a disability, such as hearing loss. One of Ms. Melodie's students Danielle found herself in that situation when she started her training program with New Horizons. She along with Ms. Melodie's colleague Patricia shared some helpful tips for students who may be navigating job training and getting a job with hearing loss. 

Here are some questions to consider when looking into further career training  programs >>

Miss Melodie (MM): Could you tell us a little bit about your story and how what has brought you to this point?

Danielle (D): I had a pesky aneurysm in 2012 and when they woke me up from my medically-induced coma I had no eyesight and I was deaf in one ear with tinnitus but at the beginning, we focused so much on my sight that I really didn't realize how deaf I was until I went to new horizons in 2014 and I didn't understand why I wasn't learning. I realized I couldn't hear. I went and had a hearing test and found out that I indeed am profoundly deaf in my right ear which pretty much means it's gone with diminished in my left. So they set me up with some cross hearing aids so I finally had some surround sound. I had to learn how to relearn and learn how to relate to people in public situations and with my own family.

How does hearing loss affect learning?

MM: You mentioned having to relearn how to learn so your methodology of understanding is different now.

D: Reading a book is the only way that I learn how I used to learn but this is a whole new ball game as far as video conferencing and learning in a classroom. Subtitles are my best friends I use them on tv and on my phone and in class, I did have to ask you to kind of go back and repeat yourself or go back and read it later because I didn't want to interrupt the class too much.

How do you get a job with hearing loss?

MM: Patricia, do you have any advice to give to people who are looking to get out into the workforce? What are things that they can do to make sure that they are reaching out to people who are going to be accommodating?

Patricia (P): A lot of times what you need to do is anticipate what your employer is going to perceive as a barrier when it comes to a hearing loss. If you can go over those barriers in your head in advance and then how you are going to address those once you are working. For example, if you come to them and say "I understand maybe it will be hard for people to contact me on the phone, but here are ways that we can get around that- we can leave a message on the phone and truthfully not a lot of people leave voicemails much anymore anyway." If you just anticipate those things and say "This is how I will be able to work around that, these are the strengths that I'm bringing to you." Just be sure to anticipate what they are going to have reservations about and just conquer those in advance.


MM: Danielle, what would be your most significant piece of advice that you would give a student who has any kind of barrier coming into a technology class?

D: That I know that it's scary and that you need to trust yourself. You are amazing and you are smart and you're going to do fine. Just be gentle with yourself and allow yourself moments to get up and walk around. Trust that you're going to do well because you have amazing instructors.

Tips for students with hearing loss

MM: Patricia what would your advice be to a student who has barriers that they need to overcome?

P: Just keep working really hard and forgive yourself for those moments where you are frustrated. Find an outlet, find something that encourages you that makes you feel rejuvenated, and be sure to address yourself as a whole person. So often with our students, they forget to eat, or they forget to sleep, they forget those self-care things. So I always start there start with the basics. Take care of yourself and go from there.

MM: Those are fabulous words. What you are saying is that you need to be willing to dive in, embrace the opportunities, and don't be afraid to fail. That's what's great about technology classes—where else in the world can you have multiple undoes? What a great opportunity to try something because if it doesn't work, you can just
undo it and then you try it again.

Questions to Consider

What else can you do to develop your career when you have a disability like hearing loss? You can rely on what you have learned in your current and previous roles and think about other careers that would match your skills and abilities.

Education is the key to career advancement, but you don’t need a college degree or MBA to get ahead. IT training and career training are efficient and proven ways to advance your career and acquire new job skills. Ask these questions when considering career training programs.

Looking to further your career? Consider these questions when looking into further career training programs. Download Checklist >>

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