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Are you in the workforce? Are you looking for a job?

Looking for work, landing a job, and keeping your job can be difficult under the best of circumstances, but it can seem to be minefield if you have a hearing loss. There are ways to be successful at the workplace with a hearing loss. But you need the right tools, do your homework, find out what’s right for you and for your employer, and find ways to successfully advocate for yourself.

View the video of the HLAA Convention 2015 Symposium: Employment Issues for People with Hearing Loss.

You May Need an Employment Toolkit

Anyone who has any degree of hearing loss deals with a number of unknown issues and faces many anxieties when it comes to finding a job or being successful on the job.

HLAA has developed an “Employment Toolkit” to provide information about the workplace for people with hearing loss. If you have a success story you’d like to send in, contact us. We want to share good experiences so that others can be encouraged that they too will be successful in the workplace.

The Hearing Loss Association of America Employment Toolkit was produced with generous support of Hearing Loss Association of America-Manhattan Chapter. We thank them for bringing this to you.

Download the complete Employment Toolkit.

Common Questions about the Workplace

I am about to lose my job because of my hearing loss, what do I do?

Please check out the following resources:

  • Vocational Rehabilitation - Check out your state’s office of Vocational Rehabilitation for help with keeping or getting a job. Contact information changes so do an Internet search for your state’s office or check the phone book.
  • National Council on Independent Living
Are there any laws that help me get accommodation or prevent discrimination in the workplace based on disability?

Yes. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal laws that have provisions covering the workplace. The ADA, Title 1, requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee, unless such accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer. Reasonable accommodations include a wide variety of actions – making worksites accessible, modifying existing equipment providing new devices, modifying work schedules, restructuring jobs, reassigning an employee to a vacant position, and providing readers or interpreters.

Go to the Employment page of the Advocacy Section of this website for further explanation as well as more resources, such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice

Untreated Hearing Loss in the Workplace

In addition to its effect on psychosocial status and interpersonal communication, a hearing loss may also influence a person’s employment status. Most jobs in our society require some degree of interactive verbal communication; one must be able to communicate effectively with co-workers, the public, and most important, one’s supervisors. Any hindrance in that ability may interfere with the efficiency and accuracy of these communication exchanges and thus affect how well a job is performed. This, in turn, may well influence the compensation that a person receives for the job he or she is doing. It can, for example, help determine how much people with a hearing loss are paid for a job or, indeed, whether they have a job at all.

One basic finding of the MarkeTrak VIII Survey was the not unexpected observation that employment income is related to the degree of hearing loss. While the people with the mildest hearing losses show little or no drop in income compared to their normal hearing peers, as the hearing loss increases, so does the reduction in compensation.

Read: The Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss on Workplace Compensation by Mark Ross, Ph.D.

Employment Resources

Government Job Opportunities
National Job Search Websites
Job-Search Advice
Accommodations in the Workplace for People with Hearing Loss
Tax Incentives for Employers who Hire People with Disabilities
  • Disabled Access Tax Credit (Title 26, Internal Revenue Code, Section 44)
  • Targeted Jobs Tax Credit (Section 51, IRS Code)
  • Architectural and Transportation Barrier Removal Tax Deduction (Section 190, IRS Code)