Stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes are changing as employers have finally begun to understand that you don’t need to hear to perform many jobs, according to Gallaudet University, home of the National Deaf Education Center. While workers who are deaf or hard of hearing may need occasional accommodations, jobs that don’t require hearing are plentiful and include careers ranging from writers and accountants to mechanics, statisticians and engineers.
Fewer Barriers than Ever
There are very few jobs you can’t do if you are hearing-impaired as long as you earn the requisite credentials and degrees. Opportunities in health care, for example, are growing as technological advancements make entry into the profession easier, according to "The Hospitalist." Electronic stethoscopes for example, allow deaf physicians and nurses to read heart activity. Vibrating watches, two-way vibrating pagers, instant messaging and email alerts can help you function well as a secretary in an office or as a front-line assembly worker in a manufacturing environment where you need to react to inquiries or respond to safety notices.
Work in Fields that Require Training
With appropriate educational assistance and training, you can earn the certifications needed to become a social worker, a teacher, administrator or actor. While some schools, like Gallaudet University, include American Sign Language as part of their standard curriculum, any school that receives federal funding must supply interpreters, note-takers and other auxiliary aids and services by law. Work as an attorney, accountant or pathologist with sufficient training and education, taking advantage of the assistance schools must provide.
Silence is Golden
Many career paths may be ideally suited to the hearing impaired where concentration and quiet are the norm. For example, artists and writers typically work in solitude and avoid distractions. Engineers and scientists concentrating on their research don’t interact with others on a regular basis. In fact, according to Gallaudet president I. King Jordan, who is deaf, most jobs do not place workers in the public eye. Mechanics work in solitude on their machines. Computer technicians, factory workers and gardeners and landscapers do not need to hear to perform in an exemplary manner on their jobs.
Accommodations and Rights
When minor accommodations for a hearing disability are needed, employers must provide them, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Hearing-impaired workers may need written instructions, special phone devices, captioned training videos or an interpreter for meetings and one-on-one interactions. As a hearing-impaired worker, you must become an advocate for your rights, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America. When an employer refuses to provide an interpreter for important, required meetings, for example, you need to access local vocational rehab counselors or civil rights attorneys who can educate employers and help advocate for you. Resources such as those through your state’s Vocational Rehabilitation Department or an Independent Living Center can help you find the assistive devices you may need.