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Top interview tips for people with hearing impairments

by Tahira Majothi on September 27, 2010

This is a guest post kindly submitted by Ran who works for a company called Hearing Direct.

Hearing loss, especially age related hearing loss is a common condition that affects many job seekers. Here are some key strategies, which will help to better manage the situation and to improve job interview chances.

Strategies to tackle phone interviews:

1. Ask for a written interview instead – employers will often conduct a telephone interview to short list suitable candidates for a face to face interview. If you have difficulty with telephone interviews due to hearing loss, you should be open about your hearing loss and request a written interview by email. Employers have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments.

2. Use a telephone aid – there are plenty of devices which can amplify sound to a level which will allow you to hear the other person on the line. These are called ALDs (or assistive listening devices) and for a job interview by telephone, an external amplifier or extra loud phone will do the job. You may also find it useful to conduct the interview in a quiet room where you can focus on listening to the interviewer rather than background noises.

3. Prepare Responses – remember the employer is interested in you as a person and your experiences. Do take the time to sit down and think about you, who you are and what you have achieved. When you’ve thought through how you can add value to a specific employer, you’ll be able to easily add examples in the answers you provide.

4. Conduct a mock interview – if you haven’t had a telephone interview for a while or you are looking to try a new telephone amplifier, a mock interview is often the answer. The interviewer can be a friend, family member or interview coach and they can ensure you are ready for the real deal. 

Strategies to tackle face to face interviews:

5. Position yourself accordingly – if you find yourself in a job interview and find it hard to hear the other person, consider these strategies. Move closer and position yourself so that you are facing the interviewer. Ensure that the room is well lit and you can see the interviewer clearly. Watch the speaker’s face, lips and gestures for clues as to what’s being said.

6. Fill in words – don’t strain to hear every word. People with normal hearing miss words during an interview as well and ‘fill in’ the missing words to understand the concept. You should adopt the same strategy.

7. Use a hearing aid – hearing aids are small micro-engineered computers that can amplify external sound to a suitable level. In recent years, hearing healthcare professionals have seen large changes, not just in what hearing devices can do, but in how they are worn. These changes can be attributed to a reduction in the size of components, increased durability and cosmetic concerns on the part of the wearer. In most cases, the hearing aid will not be visible so any concerns of cosmetic appearance are unjustifiable.

8. Think about your body languageyour verbal content only provides 7% of the message the interviewer is receiving from you therefore both your body language (55% of the message) and the way you speak such as voice tone (38%) are more important than the actual words you use in your job interview answers! The best way to be aware of your interview body language is to practice in front of a mirror. Also pay attention to the interviewer’s body language. You ideally want the interviewer to be doing the same things you are; like maintaining eye contact, nodding, smiling and leaning forward.

9. Bring a note pad – you do not want piles of notes but a few bullet points can help you focus on saying the things that you want to talk about and you can pre-prepare a couple of questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview.

10. Control your nerves – Take two deep breaths before you start, this will help you to slow down when you start to speak and create a more confident first impression. Pausing also gives you time to collect your thoughts and you’ll be less likely to lose track of what you are saying.

Job Interview mistakes to avoid:

Hearing loss is a common condition and you should disclose your condition to the interviewer to avoid unexpected concerns and misconceptions. Employers have a responsibility to make reasonable adjustments for interviews and employees. People who suffer from hearing loss without disclosing their condition or without taking steps to improve the situation could be seen as difficult to work with by their co-workers or by their managers.

Article contributed by hearing aid seller Hearing Direct. If you wish to find out more about hearing loss you can read our guide to hearing and hearing loss.

The Careers and Employability Service will also be running a Disclosing Disability workshop in November. Places are limited, to find out more and to sign up, please click here.

Additional Information and advice including a FREE hearing test and employment support is also available from the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) website.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jobs In London September 29, 2010 at 9:44 am

Great Article…Normally Job seekers are to prepare their self for face to face interview and keep tiny concern abt telephonic interview….But telephonic interviews want more attention then Face to Face Interview.


Margaret Hutchison,Au.D. January 5, 2011 at 9:36 am

We are planning to visit a well know person in our place and he has a hearing problem. I am so thankful to found this post and learned all those tips before visiting. It will going to be a big help for our little interview.


Resume Writing January 10, 2011 at 8:02 am

A nice article with a great stuff of information, I really like that.This is really interesting site that gives huge of information to all readers thanks a lot.


Mike January 11, 2011 at 7:44 am

Interviewing a person with a hearing problem is very different. It is hard to communicate with them especially if their condition is very bad. That is why you need to have this kind of preparation. Thank you for sharing this article.


Laura February 17, 2011 at 3:11 pm

extremely beneficial and useful advice for those with a hearing difficulty and for those who are the interviewer, personally I think all companies need to be more aware of how make the interview process fair for all.


DWI laws June 14, 2011 at 6:04 am

Extremely beneficial job interview tips..


Stuart Hargreaves June 14, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Absolutley fantastic advice, I used this in my interview last week and guess what I got the job! Hopefully I wont need to use this advice for a long time!
Keep up the great work.


Tahira Majothi June 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Hi Stuart,

Congratulations on your new job. Thank you for getting in touch with us to let us know that this advice has been really beneficial to you.

I wish you all the best in your new role.



Anna October 19, 2011 at 1:59 pm

A very useful post!

A very useful advice for those who suffer from hearing loss and still want to find a job.


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