If you are suffering from hearing loss, you are not alone. According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, upwards of 15% of people in the United States are dealing with some level of hearing loss. This loss can be due to a number of reasons, including injuries, chronic exposure to loud noises, infections, and age, to name a few.
Regardless of the source of hearing loss, it can have a significant impact on an individual in the workplace as well as in a home setting. But what actually qualifies as a disability? Based on information from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), they define a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of an individual.” This can be interpreted in many ways and can affect men and women with hearing loss differently.
In essence, the severity and impact of the hearing loss on the individual’s daily life will determine whether or not it is considered a disability. For example, if a person has mild hearing loss that does not significantly impact their communication ability, it may not be considered a disability. However, if a person has severe or profound hearing loss that significantly affects their ability to communicate, work, or participate in other activities, it may be considered a disability.
Under the ADA, individuals with disabilities are protected against discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. This means that employers, landlords, and businesses must make reasonable accommodations to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access and opportunities.
If you are experiencing hearing loss that is impacting your daily life, it may be helpful to consult with a hearing healthcare professional and/or a disability rights advocate to learn more about your rights and options.
If you are currently job-hunting, be aware that any potential employers are not allowed to ask you about any medical conditions that may pertain to your particular level of hearing. They also are not allowed to ask if you wear a hearing aid. But, on the other hand, they can ask if you are able to hear commands and directions (even if placed in a loud environment) and if you can communicate appropriately in those types of situations.
Hearing loss can feel like a detrimental scenario, especially if it impacts your career. If you have questions about your hearing or would like to be evaluated, reach out to the team at El Dorado Hearing. Not only will they give you one-on-one consultation services, but they will also run you through a series of speech tests, sound tests, and ear canal inspections before breaking down the results of your testing with you.
Not all types of hearing loss require a hearing aid – however, if you find that it’s impacting your work or home life, it’s time to have your hearing tested and then get the right answers. Contact their team today to begin your journey toward communicating better!