Are we considered disabled?

I have had hearing loss (mild to moderate) for 10 years. I have hearing aids. For the most part, I can hear people IF It is quiet - it is noisy and there are tons of people talking it is difficult. Phone are a pain in the ass - even though I have an amphified one - I can still get feedback etc. I avoid applying for jobs that require alot of phone work (I hate talking on the phone anyhow).

Anyhow, my question is - I am considered to have a disability?? Without the hearing aids, I can’t hear much unless the sounds are loud. I can hear people talking (sometimes) but unless they are standing right in front of me and speaking properly. I normally can not hear them.

So , I never know what to put on job apps or other forms that ask this.

The hearing aids correct most of the problem. But it doesn’t FIX it - not cured you know. Without them, it is hard to hear anything.

So what do I consider myself? Should I mark that I have a disability??

Yes. If you rely on the hearing aids to hear what you enjoy and struggle without them you do. HAs don’t cure anything; although my speech is excellent and most wouldn’t know I had significant loss, I do have difficulty still (with and without them) and like you have just about given up on the phone unless it’s a speaker phone.

Thanks Lau2046! Yes, when I was working if I didn’t wear my aids to the job, I could hardly hear anything. Likewise, in social situations, ugh… I can actually hear on the phone if I crank up the volume with my aids so as long as the person on the other end is using the handset (and not on a speaker phone or microphone or a crappy iPhone and not talking into the piece - I hate that) and that they don’t have a soft voice. I just hate that I can’t guarantee I will be able to hear someone on the phone - it is really a crap shoot.

So, I should mark that I have a disability on forms than? I am wondering if some people will not consider this a disability because of the aids? I consider it one but usually people with glasses are not considered disabled but glasses are so different than hearing aids (although people who don’t have aids don’t realize it). I used to have glasses so I know it is NOT the same as correcting vision!

You can and should mark it on those forms. For me, it can be a crap shoot with regard to federal work. It may get you in the door for an interview or it may exclude you. I just got another federal position, and because of the nature of the agency’s hiring practice, I was very lucky that I applied as a person with a disability because they only gave preference for interviews to Vets and those that stated they were disabled. However, I doubt those that interviewed me knew this - they just thought I was one of the best rated candidates. Get everything you’re entitled to - you’re disabled so don’t let anyone pass you off. Hearing loss is a disability so never pass over that box asking whether you wish to identify as disabled - you are.


I would say no unless you meet the standards for social security disability (assuming you are in the US), which is an average of 90 db loss.

I don’t meet the standards for Social Security disability with moderate to severe loss/severe to profound. I’m a working person and able to do that with hearing aids with excellent speech. He’s talking about job applications, not Social Security. By all means he can check that he’s disabled. If he can’t function and do his job without the use of assisted hearing devices - he should be checking that box. If he doesn’t and then requires assistance to do his job (volume controlled phones) he may be denied because he didn’t identify himself as having a disability on the application.

Under the current ADA law you don’t have to disclose your hearing loss as a disability on a job application unless it is obvious or is a possible threat to your safety or those around you. You can find all this by googling hearing disability and going to the ADA website. I would post the link but for some reason it’s not working.

Lots of information there.

Hi All
Why do you consider yourself disabled just because you have a hearing loss?
You wear hearing aids and it doesn’t rectify the problem you have…and?
I wear glasses and they don’t rectify my inability to see properly.
By your reckoning, I am also disabled due to poor eye sight!
Is my mom disabled because she wears false teeth?
Psychologically, do you think you’re doing yourself any good by labeling yourself with a negative attitude?
We all have things we can and can’t do in life. Maybe if we all concentrated on the things we can do, it would encourage others to see past our limitations.
have a nice day :slight_smile:

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Frankly, I find this sort of response doesn’t add to the conversation. Moreover, you reinforce the stigma that to be disabled is a bad thing, and you seem to assume that everyone who identifies as disabled is throwing themselves some kind of pity party regarding their limitations when this is not the case at all. Being disabled isn’t bad - it doesn’t make you less of a person. It just means that you are differently-abled.

Thank you…I’m learning disabled too and I don’t feel sorry for myself. But I’m no more culturally learning disabled than I am culturally deaf. My disability just is - and comparing it to someone that needs reading glasses or has false teeth/dentures is offensive. If someone needs glasses because they’re legally blind - they’re disabled. If someone uses a cane because they can’t walk without one, they’re disabled. If you require hearing aids because you can’t hear well without them or function on the job - it’s a disability. I don’t know why anyone would be dismissive about it.

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I think this will help:

I would think if you can function OK with your hearing aids. then just because you wear aids I wouldn’t think you would call yourself disabled, I have worn aids the last 10+ years and had no problem functioning at work which included lots of phones, talking to users and vendors plus attending endless (it was a hospital) meetings. ’

That’s your choice if you don’t wish to identify as disabled; I hear OK without my hearing aids too but I couldn’t hold a conversation or a job without them. Just because you can take them or leave them doesn’t mean the vast majority who wear them have no right to identify as disabled.

I’m so confused… can you hear OK without them then why can’t you hold a conversation or job without them? Just because who can take them or leave them what are you talking about? I suspect from your attitude on here that hearing aids or lack of them is not youfr problem at work.

The gentleman who started this thread, said he couldn’t function without his hearing aids and relied on them. Even with them, he had difficulty. You said hearing loss isn’t a disability. I say it is. If I remove my hearing aids, I could have a loud conversation without them - does that make me “not disabled?” My point being, if this gentleman wishes to check off the box on a job application to identify as disabled, that’s his right. If you function fine with or without and don’t see how it’s a disability - that’s your choice.

one more time IMHO if one can function with hearings then I don’t understand why one would want to claim to be disabled on a job application. Maybe in the comment section I would put that I wear aids but they don’t interfere with my work. I know guys that can’t hit the urinal without their glasses on but it would never cross their mind they were disabled.

if you are referring to me I can’t function without my aids (see audio-gram) but I have no problem functioning with them. I certainly did not run around yelling I’m disabled everyone bow and kiss my feet.

This is where you’re really not getting it. Does the fact that I wear hearing aids to watch TV, hold conversations and do my job well suddenly not make me truly disabled? Remember, unless I tell most people I hear significant hearing loss, no one believes me till I point them out. So what am I - hearing? Are these things just expensive conversation pieces? Would I be disabled, if hearing aids didn’t help me and I used Sign language? Deaf who sign don’t consider it a disability - it’s their “culture.” If a person in a wheel chair said “Hey I can do anything you can do better.” Are they not disabled? Or are they disabled because you can see it - is it visual with you? What about people that are Bipolar, or learning disabled - you can’t see their disability - so does it not exist?

Every time I apply for a federal job, if I’m asked if I have a “targeted” disability, I check yes…along with the box that says I choose not to identify my disability. I don’t want people to judge me based on their stero-type. When I’ve checked that box in the past, they’ve asked whether I needed an interpreter (over the phone) and clearly I didn’t, so I do the job the best I can and say nothing. Since I do my job well, it’s a non-issue but at the end of the day, I still can’t hear without my hearing aids. I don’t go around my office asking for people to kiss my feet because I have a disability, but I do ask that face me when they talk and email instead of calling - which they’re happy to do. If I need a volume controlled phone to do my job should I be denied one because it’s expensive and you don’t think I need it? Remember, you think I’m just fine and I shouldn’t ask for special treatment. Why is that wrong for me to expect to be able to use assisted hearing devices in the workforce? In all my years in federal service I never asked for special treatment - unless you consider a volume controlled phone unreasonable. Just because you don’t see it as a disability, doesn’t mean it’s not there or that the person doesn’t have a right to be accommodated because you think they’re pulling an attitude.

@ queenfluff - I apologize for the direction your thread has taken. Some people obviously don’t get it and as someone with a learning disability too - I’ve dealt with people with Ph.D’s that didn’t have the common sense to save their life. They’re out there and you’ll no doubt encounter them (or not, God willing), but most people when they realize you only need minor accommodations will be happy to assist you, so it shouldn’t be an issue or a worry. Do make them aware of your disability by checking that box - you can explain if they ask, and if they don’t ask and it becomes a concern, you can address it then. My employers have been very good to me so the job market has changed. People are becoming better at dealing with diversity in the work place; I wish you the very best in your job search and have a safe and happy summer.