Deafness and hard of hearing
The objective of this guide is to raise awareness of deafness and hard of hearing at work so that deaf and hard of hearing people can fully exploit their capacities in the service of their professional ambitions.
This guide is intended for deaf and hard of hearing people and employers.
This guide was written in collaboration with the Unanimes association.
A big thank you to Claire Dupuy (General Delegate of Unanimes) and Amandine Falloux for their contribution.
I. Deafness and hard of hearing in the professional world
What is deafness and hard of hearing?
– It is the fact that hearing, normally allowed by the functioning of various elements of our (outer ear, middle ear, cochlea, auditory nerve) is failing. The term “deafness” however covers very diverse realities. Deafness can be:
mild, medium, severe, deep or complete
unilateral (one ear) or bilateral (both ears),
congenital (from birth) or acquired (which occurs as a result of illness, hearing trauma or with old age).
We often speak of the deaf, hard of hearing and even deafened.
The term « deaf« is often used to designate people with total or profound deafness, even severe, congenital or onset in early childhood, when language is constructed. The term »hard of hearing« refers to people whose hearing function is still functional even if it remains incomplete compared to » normal « hearing.
The term » d evenus deads« concerns hearing people who have lost their hearing after language acquisition. They learned to communicate in a classic way.
To communicate, people who are deaf or hard of hearing may prefer oral French , French sign language (LSF), French spoken language supplemented (LfPC) (definition below).
Depending on the type of deafness, family and personal choices, a deaf person can access hearing by wearing one or more hearing aids or cochlear implant (s). Even with a hearing aid or implant, a deaf or hard of hearing person does not have the same quality of hearing as a hearing person. Indeed, the wearing of hearing aid (s) or cochlear implant (s) requires permanent active listening to reconstruct the interlocutor’s message and distinguish oral speech from background noise. This results in greater fatigue in these people who may feel the need to remove their devices depending on the context (eg noisy air conditioning or work in the street which complicates participation in a meeting). Depending on the degree of deafness, people with a hearing aid / implant may use lip reading (lip reading) to supplement oral information.
It should be noted that each situation, despite being similar in appearance, can differ greatly from person to person. The impact of hearing impairment may depend on the type of disorder but also on other factors such as the family and (para) medical context in which the deaf or hard of hearing person evolves. Likewise, the school, family / personal and professional career can influence the deafness experience and the quality of life of deaf or hard of hearing people. The most important thing is often to learn to understand the person and their needs.
Thus, the hearing disability affects the quality of life very variable depending on the individual. It can be at the origin of a negative feeling which sometimes takes an excessive place in the choices life of the deaf / hard of hearing person. Indeed, it can have an influence on all aspects of life, in particular studies and professional projects.
Lip reading, LfPC and LSF: quésaco?
– Lip reading only allows 30% of the oral message to be returned. Indeed, it is impossible to visually distinguish the pronunciation of certain sounds. For example, the words « bread », « bath » and « hand » or even « see » and « fair » are lip doubles: for a deaf person, it is impossible to distinguish them from lip reading. In this case, the word will be understood by deduction depending on the context. To distinguish these labial look-alikes, deaf people can use the completed French spoken language (LfPC). The LfPC is a manual code which facilitates the comprehension of the oral message since each phoneme (equivalent of a syllable spoken orally) is associated with a movement of the hands (called “key”). The LfPC then makes it possible to distinguish « bread », « bath », « hand » regardless of the context of the sentence and to facilitate exchanges. For people using the LfPC, the intervention of an LfPC coder during a meeting or during an interview can facilitate exchanges.
– French sign language (LSF) is a fully fledged language recognized by law n ° 2005-102 of February 11, 2005 for equal rights and opportunities, participation and citizenship of people with disabilities. If the pejorative expression « sign language » is still sometimes used (in linguistics, language refers to the ability to interact and communicate while language is a complex communication system based on a set of rules), it is probably because the development of the LSF has been strewn with obstacles from its first attempts at formalization in the 18th century until recently. We can indeed remember that it was banned in France in the teaching of young deaf people from 1880 (date of the Milan Congress) until the 1970s (“Réveil Sourd”). Using the expression « sign language » is to value and not to denigrate a language that has long been stigmatized.
Some received ideas
– « My colleague is deaf and dumb « Deafness and dumbness is very rare, it designates people suffering from both deafness and mutism. However, the great majority of deaf people are able to speak, but their learning of oral speech is complicated by the absence of oral feedback from the sounds spoken. Depending on the deafness, the therapeutic course, and family / personal choices, deaf or hard of hearing people may prefer learning oral speech (speech therapy) or learning sign language. Sign language, hearing aids and learning to speak are not, however, exclusive. The choice of communication mode is specific to each deaf or hard of hearing person, it can change over the course of life.
– « A deaf or hard of hearing person who speaks speaks differently « : Deafness is an invisible handicap : The presence of a hearing aid or a cochlear implant is not always visible and deafness can go unnoticed even in a conversation. While some people who are deaf or hard of hearing have a pronunciation that differs from that of hearing people (for example the sound / t /), for others (who have become deaf, have more mild deafness) deafness does not affect the way they are heard. express orally.
– « I would like to learn sign language »LSF is a visual-gestural language which has its own grammar and syntax. It is the so-called “natural” language of the signing deaf community and is at the heart of the deaf culture. We are therefore talking about sign language and not sign language.
– « All deaf people know sign language « : Deafness does not therefore systematically imply mastery of French sign language . : an estimated 280,000 people use LSF as a language of communication (Haeusler et al, 2014). 90% of deaf people are born to hearing parents. Therefore, the transmission and early learning of sign language by people who are deaf or hard of hearing is not straightforward. In addition, in France, the prevalence of deafness is 9.3%, but the vast majority of these are acquired deafness or old age. Only 12% of deaf people were born or became deaf early, severe or profound. As a benchmark, there is 1% deaf among those under 20 (all degrees combined).
– « Sign language is international « : sign language is not international. As with oral languages, each country has its own sign language, intrinsically linked to the culture of the country as well as the written language. The signs as well as the manual alphabets vary according to the signed languages of each country. On the other hand, there are “international signs” which fulfill the same ambitions as Esperanto in oral language, and allow deaf people from different countries to communicate with each other.
Deafness, hearing loss and skills
In our current society, communication is key. We consider that communication mainly takes place orally. However, more than 60% of communication passes through the non-vocal (the non-verbal, the meaning of words, the expressiveness of the body, the gaze). Being deaf or hard of hearing allows you to understand the visual, communication and interpersonal relationships from a new angle.
In a professional context, people who are deaf or hard of hearing are often forced to engage in invisible work of reconstructing information (Dalle-Nazébi). Indeed, a lot of information passes through informal channels: coffee or lunch breaks, informal meetings, conversation in a hallway, etc. Even physically present during verbal exchanges, the deaf person will not necessarily have understood all of the information (e.g. misunderstanding or misinterpreting the information due to confusion between the month of July and an employee). named “Juliette”). It is for deaf or hard of hearing workers to access quality information that is not incomplete. Adapting communication within the company then means ensuring that the deaf or hard of hearing person, as well as all employees, have access to complete and quality information.
When you are deaf or hard of hearing, the professional world is not always suitable. Communications go through oral, people speak very quickly, video communications can be done without a camera, (and the quality of audio and video can leave something to be desired).
Communication plays a key role in our current society. However, being deaf or hard of hearing allows for different communication. Beyond the necessary adaptation of the interlocutors which is detailed later in the guide, deafness or hard of hearing allows to have another approach to communication
By agreeing to live with your deafness or hearing loss, you adapt to go beyond the constraints that our difference imposes on us. These skills can be attention to non-verbal language, sequenced communication, strong visual creativity, persistence and loyalty.
These skills are in high demand in today’s professional world.
So come as you are and show what you are capable of.
Recruiting a deaf or hard of hearing person is an issue that goes beyond legal and social obligations for the employer. A person who is deaf or hard of hearing usually has a unique relationship. Communication is sequential and turned towards the other. The gaze is indeed at the center of the exchange.
In addition, people who are deaf or hard of hearing generally have a very well-developed sense of observation. There is also a strong sensitivity to non-verbal language which helps identify signals that may be implicit.
The attention to detail coupled with a communication that goes to the essentials allow effective professional and interpersonal exchanges more direct.
Poor communication is a source of tension in business. By ensuring that the deaf person has the same level of information as other employees / collaborators, it is in reality the whole team that benefits. Including a deaf or hard of hearing person means ensuring a transparent work environment, free from sources of tension due to poor communication.
Keep a written record for the organization of work (use of summary emails, systematic use of calendar entries, display written on a board) and clarify the information to get to the point (to-do list, information summarized under bullet-points, visual aids) improve the distribution of tasks and better visualize the objectives to be achieved.
Hard of hearing, deafness and recognition as a disabled worker
What is recognition as a disabled worker?
The hearing handicap is recognized as a handicap by the House of Handicapped Persons (MDPH). Thus, a deaf or hard of hearing person is eligible for the Recognition as a Disabled Worker (RQTH). The RQTH is the administrative recognition of disability. Do not hesitate to apply for RQTH if you think it could be of benefit to you.
What are the advantages?
RQTH is not mandatory. However, it is important because it allows:
– to benefit from schedule arrangements for medical and therapeutic appointments.
– to benefit from advantages during recruitment within certain companies. Companies are subject to a quota of 6% of employees with an RQTH. Certain recruitment policies are advantageous for people with RQTH in order to reach these quotas.
– benefit from the implementation of workstation arrangements as recommended by occupational medicine
– to access services and financial aid from AGEFIPH (The state body in charge of disabled people in a private structure) or FIFPH (The state body in charge of disabled people in a public structure)
– to benefit from special rules in the event of termination of an employment contract, such as doubling the length of the notice of dismissal.
– access to rehabilitation and vocational training courses in the event of incapacity for your former profession.
How to apply for his RQTH? To apply for his RQTH, you must complete a file to send to the departmental MDPH. The file is detailed here .
When is it possible to request RQTH? RQTH’s application is a big step. It recognizes the handicap administratively. It is not always easy to apply for RQTH. Some people who are deaf or hard of hearing will consider themselves disabled, others will not. The advantage of RQTH is that it protects and encourages companies to adapt the work environment to the individual’s needs.
The other difficulty is that disability can be seen as something personal that some people do not want to share with the whole company. It is important to note that the RQTH is CONFIDENTIAL. It is possible to share it only with the occupational physician, who will do what is necessary to adapt the position. There is no obligation to speak to the disability manager of the company or to human resources, even if this can help to have a daily follow-up.
Deafness and hard of hearing are recognized as a handicap by the MDPH (Departmental House of Handicapped People). So a person who is deaf or hard of hearing is eligible for the RQTH (Recognition as a disabled worker), which counts people in the 6% quota. The person can also request their RQTH when they are employed in your company. The request takes a maximum of 6 months.
Tips for integrating deafness and hard of hearing into the world of work
– Talk about your deafness or hearing loss in the professional world. Deafness and hard of hearing can be « controlled » so that they are not noticed. However, they will have an implicit impact on your work (little communication at work, very precise choice of words, no communication during meetings, not asking when a word is not clear). It is always difficult to come out. Talking about it allows you to no longer “hide” and to be able to be yourself. In addition, by notifying your employer, it also becomes their legal responsibility (especially if you are RQTH) to integrate.
– Deafness or hard of hearing should not be an excuse to avoid doing something. You have to be daring, even if it means exposing your hearing impairment. You can’t change the fact that you have different hearing, but you can change the way you live with it.
– Ask yourself if our greatest difficulty is your deafness or hearing impairment, or the way you perceive your hearing disability (such as a barrier, a demon, etc.)
– Ask yourself: is the most important thing to be able to hear and speak like everyone else or to be able to communicate with and be understood by them?
– Ask for the arrangements that allow you a better quality of work:
- Ask to be well positioned during exchanges (meetings, face to face) to be able to communicate at your ease
- Request the activation of videos during a video meeting
- Ask for a quiet environment (which is not noisy)
- Ask to have the necessary hardware and software that can help your communication by phone and video
Request the intervention of communication professionals (French / LSF interpreters, LfPC coders, writing technician) during meetings (face-to-face or by video) or during interviews or meetings.
– Put people with a hearing disability at ease , who may be particularly stressed during an interview.
– Maintain , as far as possible, eye contact with the deaf or hard of hearing person .
– Allow each person to speak in turn, without interrupting the floor. If people do not take turns speaking, it will be more difficult for the deaf or hard of hearing person to follow the conversation.
– Position the deaf or hard of hearing person so that they can see the face and read the lips of all the participants.
– Take an interest in the non-verbal just as much as verbal. The deaf or hard of hearing person may also have very expressive non-verbal language accompanying their message.
– Have written support during discussions, especially interviews and meetings. The written support can be a word document, powerpoint or the sharing in writing of the main elements (proper names, ideas)
– Speak clearly, in a regular voice and rhythm. If the sentence was not understood, repeat, changing the form of the sentence
– Ask yourself what it feels like (nervousness, impatience) in front of someone who is deaf or hard of hearing. This allowsbe alert to the non-verbal signals you send (frown, sighs…). Feeling nervousness or impatience is normal in some cases, being aware of it helps limit the impact.
– Explain with the person who is deaf or hard of hearing the situations that are difficult for him in order to help him find adaptations in the company while allowing him to move forward.
Possible arrangements to help the deaf or hard of hearing person
– Telephone interview , can be a complicated exercise, even if the person is fitted with hearing aids, difficulties in understanding (network problem, non-access to non-verbal). Developments in technology facilitate this exercise. The ideal remains to coordinate with the person to determine the situation that suits him best.
– When there is a customer contact , the interlocutor (s) can be notified upstream if the deaf or hard of hearing person wishes. It is also desirable to have written support.
– When there is an oral presentation, allow the deaf or hard of hearing person to be in front of the main stakeholders so that they can hear and intervene.
– Call on an LSF interpreter, an LfPC coder or a writing technician for meetings where the conditions are not ideal for the deaf or hard of hearing person
– The deaf or hard of hearing person must see what is happening. It must therefore be positioned facing the passage areas.
– Hearing impaired people are sensitive to noise! This is why we will endeavor to reduce the noise level in the office by installing acoustic partitions, by moving noisy machines away, or by installing carpet. For example, in order to protect a hyperacousic person (hypersensitivity to noise) working in an open space, mobile acoustic partitions positioned all around his office will make it possible to make it an almost closed space protected from noise pollution.
– When there is a customer contact, the interlocutor (s) can be notified upstream .
– When there is an oral presentation, the hearing-impaired or deaf person can be warned in advance and share their needs (room without parasitic noise such as overhead projectors, be placed in the middle, magnetic loop, HF microphone, etc.).
II. Deafness, hearing loss and maintenance
Before the interview
The interview for a deaf or hard of hearing person is a complicated exercise, because it is an exercise which mainly relies on oral communication. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t shine during this exercise.
The interview is a complicated exercise, because it is an exercise where the way in which one interacts with the recruiter is important. However, you are quite capable of shining during this exercise!
Declare whether or not you are deaf or hard of hearing
The declaration of deafness or hard of hearing (in the CV, in the cover letter) is your right before or during the interview. There is no obligation. Declaring your deaf or hard of hearing in the CV or cover letter allows recruiters to make the necessary adjustments during the interviews. The declaration before the interview allows you to be frank about your deafness or hearing impairment and not having to overcompensate.
If you don’t mention your deaf or hard of hearing in your CV or cover letter, you can talk about it when Human Resources contacts you to schedule the interview.
The main downside is that there are still a lot of prejudices. The purpose of this page is to limit prejudices. The advantage of talking about the deaf or hard of hearing before the interview is that it allows the company to schedule extra time for you if necessary. Talking about it also allows you to have to compensate less, because the recruiter will already be aware.
You will find here our guide to the declaration of disability in the business world.
Prepare for your interview
Ask for the ideal conditions
– Think about the ideal conditions of interview and make the request: have a quiet room, have an adequate positioning of the interlocutors in order to be able to see their face (and read lips).
– If you want an interpreter to communicate during an interview, ask for it. It is your right and the duty of the recruiter.
– Find out about the company (what are its activities? What are the latest news?)
– Learn about the job you are interviewing for. If available, you can read the job description and learn about the skills required and the tasks to be done.
– Ask recruiters what dress code is required. If the requested outfit does not make you comfortable, you can ask to put on an outfit that makes you comfortable.
– Ask recruiters with whom you will be interviewing. You can then find out about your contacts upstream (by looking on LinkedIn in particular).
– Ask recruiters what is the format of the interview. (Interview with a person, case study, group interview, access plan, etc.). This will allow you to prepare yourself as well as possible. You can specify that group interviews require you to be able to be well positioned to communicate with everyone.
Prepare what you are going to say about yourself
The recruiter may ask you to introduce yourself and ask you questions about your motivations, strengths and skills, and past experiences.
Introduce yourself: You can give your first name, your last name, say what studies you have done and speak in 1 sentence (20 to 30 words maximum) about one of your passions
Motivations : List a maximum of 3 reasons for your motivation. It is important to develop your motivations in 2 short sentences. These sentences can answer the question « why this motivation »)
Strengths and skills : You can list your 3 main strengths for this position. It can be your skills (in code, graphics, math etc.) or your personality traits (courageous, persevering etc.). You can illustrate these strengths with an example each time
Past experiences : The employer will ask you to present 1 or 2 experiences that you have had. This can be professional, associative, sports or student experiences (university project). For each experience you can
- Describe what you did
- Describe the result of what you did
- Describe what you have learned and learned from your work.
- You can record yourself or film yourself while listening to what you are saying. You can pay attention to the stray words (uh, well, actually, suddenly), the clarity of your words and the tone of your voice.
- You can do a mock interview with your speech therapist, your university or relatives to get their point of view.
Talking about your deafness or hearing loss during an interview
Talking about being deaf or hard of hearing is very personal. Being able to talk about it with a recruiter can:
- Create a bond with the recruiter. You share something very personal. You share part of your vulnerability. It’s something that touches people and creates a bond beyond the interview
- Help recruiters understand you better and understand autism.
When to talk about it? :
At the start of the interview or at the end of the interview
How to talk about it? :
– Factually: say what it means for you in terms of skills and difficulties
– Positively: say it factually, adding a sentence about what deafness or hard of hearing brings you. Autism allows you to develop a lot of skills that can be very useful in the world of work.
In an interview, it is often difficult to move past a difference such as deafness or hard of hearing. If the person has been interviewed, it means that they have a profile that meets your expectations. Despite all the skills that we can see, we tend to favor candidates without disabilities over different candidates.
First of all, specify z to the candidate that if he has a disability, he can share it upstream, and this is important so that the interview is adapted and the recruiter can prepare and obtain information.
Here are some avenues to prepare before the interview to judge the candidate as objectively as possible:
– Before taking into account the candidate ‘s deafness , does he have the necessary skills for the position ?
– Can we adapt the position to his deafness or hearing impairment? ? See the layout section.
– Will deafness or hard of hearing interfere with the accomplishment of tasks ? Among the most important tasks of the position, it is necessary to identify those which seem very difficult to accomplish with a hearing disability. Normally, with patience and the accommodations shown above, there shouldn’t be any.
– Are the skills hampered by the hearing disability compensated by those that the hearing disability develops ? During the interview, ask positive questions about hearing disability (biggest wins with hearing disability, what hearing disability can do). This will have a benefit for you, because it will allow you to apprehend deafness as something other than a constraint, and for the candidate, this can put him in confidence and reassure him.
– If you know beforehand that the candidate has a hearing disability,
- Pay attention to the format of the interviews: if there are tests with audio / video tracks, make sure they are made accessible. If there is a multi-stakeholder interview, make sure the format will allow the person with a hearing disability to hear, understand and participate in the entire interview
- Book a room with a minimum of noise
Ask if the presence of an interpreter or a coder is necessary. If necessary, invite an interpreter or an encoder to take part in the interview.
During the interview
– Talk about your disability as soon as you can, even if it is possible for you to pass an interview without saying it. Saying so will allow you to quickly present to the recruiter (s) what this implies in the context of the interview. If you do not understand some of the other person’s words or if they do not understand some of your words, it will be legitimate for you to ask for accommodations. Therefore, this will create a maintenance environment that will be to your advantage.
– Be at the interview 10 minutes early.
– Do not rush to answer a question, take your time. Make sure you understand the question. If necessary, ask the other person to repeat.
– Be at the interview 10 minutes early.
– Put your phone on silent.
– Do not rush to answer a question, take your time. Keep the flow steady and calm. It helps to show that you have confidence in yourself. Don’t hesitate to say, “I need to take my time”.
– If a question is not clear, you can ask the other person to rephrase it so that it is clearer for you.
– Make sure your interlocutor understands. You can supplement your oral responses with written responses if this makes you more comfortable.
– If the room and / or the format of the interview seem unsuitable, you have the right to report it. The recruiter will be able to adapt the conditions of the interview as well as possible so that you can pass the interview as well as possible. On the other hand, if you do not say it, the recruiter will not be able to guess it for you.
– Be aware of the importance of their non-verbal language. Take your time to articulate and smile. If you have a mustache, make sure the candidate can hear you well.
– Focus primarily on the candidate if an interpreter or coder is present.
– Take an interest in what his disability has allowed him to do. The adventures lived are a gold mine to get to know the person and discover all his skills. Be careful, some people will be less open on this subject, in this case, respect their restraint.
– Remember to be transparent with your interlocutor. If he tells you about his hearing impairment, be honest about your position on it. If you have any doubts, ask the candidate for examples of situations similar to those they will encounter on the job.
– If you think the person has a hearing disability but dare not say so, try to initiate the topic , you can put the person at ease and show that the disability is not a taboo.
– Do not base your impression on the hearing disability, but on the whole discussion with the person with a hearing disability .
Interviews with several people:
– Indicate when another person is speaking.
– Ask beforehand if the candidate wishes that their hearing disability be mentioned and that the role of the interpreter or coder be explained to other speakers or candidates
The telephone interview can be a complicated exercise, even if the person is fitted with a hearing aid, difficulties in understanding (network problem, non-access to non-verbal). Developments in technology facilitate this exercise. The ideal remains to coordinate with the person to determine the situation that suits him best.
Telephone relay or video interpretation platforms can be solutions, even if it is necessary to favor face-to-face.
III. Deafness and hearing loss at work
Having a deaf or hard of hearing person on a team may require adaptation so that the person is an integral part of the team and that they can bring all their added value.. Hearing handicap is certainly a handicap for oral communication. It may also turn out be an asset that will benefit his team and his company in many situations .
The whole issue of integrating a deaf or hard of hearing person into a team is to enable them to go beyond hearing disabilities, so that they can highlight their strengths.
Hearing impairment can surprise uninformed people. Even if it is difficult, it is important to talk about your deafness or hearing loss. Your difference can be felt, which is why it is important to explain why you are different. Saying it verbally is complicated because we share something (very) personal with a stranger.
Inform about your hearing impairment
– During the first exchange (The privileged moment) by saying only « I am deaf » / « I am hard of hearing » or « I am deaf, I can ask you to repeat certain words or speak more slowly so that I make sure I understand correctly » / « I am hard of hearing, I can ask you to repeat certain words or speak more slowly so that I make sure I understand correctly ».
– When you have difficulty in a situation. “This situation is more difficult for me because I am deaf. Could you repeat or write the word « / » This situation is more difficult for me because I am deaf. Could you repeat or write the word ”.
– Talking about the positive aspect of your deafness or hearing loss. Our difference constrains us, it also brings us. Highlighting moments related to your deafness or hearing loss that you are proud of will allow you to highlight your difference as an asset. You can also talk about what your deafness or hearing loss is doing to you.
Some people will come to work with you every day. Giving them precise information on hearing impairment and above all, on your hearing impairment, will allow them to better understand your difference and facilitate daily collaboration. To educate your team, you can:
– Share this page.
– Make a presentation to your team to explain what deaf / hard of hearing involves, what you are feeling and what advice you would like to share with them.
Assert yourself at work :
The world of work is demanding. Stuttering involves thriving in this world with a difference. You shouldn’t hesitate to say what makes you uncomfortable or ask for what you want, because if you don’t, no one will do it for you. It is true that it is often quite complicated, but you should not hesitate because it is your right.
– Some tasks may not be assigned to an autistic person because colleagues may find that these will be more complicated. If you want to do these tasks, ask your manager clearly.
– If you wish to speak but you cannot take it, communicate it, either in the meeting chat or orally, even if it means interrupting the meeting for a short time.
Hearing impairment can surprise uninformed people. It can also have an impact on social life that should not be forgotten. If the person interacts in a different way, it may also be related to their difference. It may be important to take this into account in teamwork.
– Allow the person to talk about their hearing disability and what it means for them, if they wish. Not everyone is comfortable in this situation.
– Distribute the first informative part of this guide to all team members.
– For team events (lunch, afterwork), think of quiet places, in which the deaf or hard of hearing person can understand you
Communication with the deaf or hard of hearing person
– When you talk to the deaf or hard of hearing person, make sure you are in front of them. Also take the time to articulate well.
– The effort must come from both parties. Do not hesitate to communicate with the person deaf or hard of hearing. if there are points to improve in his professional attitude, in his way of working and other points which seem essential to you.
– A deaf or hard of hearing person should not benefit from special treatment, they should be judged like any other collaborator.
– If there is a performance issue, bring it to the person’s attention using clear, explicit language
– During video meetings, remember to put your cameras on. It is also necessary to ensure that the employee has access to the right tools adapted for telephone and video meetings.
– During meetings, the deaf or hard of hearing person must be able to be close to all the participants and see their faces. To facilitate exchanges , the presence of an interpreter or a coder may be necessary.
– During oral exchanges, it is possible to complete with written supports (write the proper names and the main ideas, a powerpoint, a word document)
Tips for creating a suitable working environment
– Allow the deaf or hard of hearing person to work in a calm environment (without parasitic noise)
– Encourage the use of written notes, diagrams, and todo-lists. Icons and color classification systems will aid in the organization.
Hearing impairment is often seen as a constraint. We often forget to see the constructive aspect of hearing impairment. The daily challenges cannot be denied. These daily challenges and these different ways of understanding the world, forge and develop unsuspected skills:
– Adaptation : Being deaf or hard of hearing requires adapting to a multitude of everyday actions, from the simplest (hearing a car honking when crossing) to the most complicated (following a meeting with several people talking simultaneously). This constrained adaptation pushes to constantly find solutions to problems in order to be able to continue to move forward. In a world that is constantly changing with the appearance of new technologies and constraints, it is important to have the resources and the mindset to adapt quickly and effectively.
– Attention to detail : The deaf or hard of hearing person must pay attention to details in order to be able to communicate well. She can pay attention to non-verbal language, lips, gestures (if communication is in sign language, notably). This attention Retail is crucial in many trades where the quality of the work and the precise understanding of complex situations are very important for companies operating in competitive and complex industries.
– Good communication : People who are deaf or hard of hearing are generally very good communicators. Their difference pushes them to speak in a sequenced manner (each in turn), to say things clearly and directly (say no if necessary and say explicitly what they think) while ensuring that their understanding is understood ( s) interlocutor (s). Simple and effective communication allows all stakeholders to understand the situation, share their point of view and jointly move towards the common goal.
– visual : People who are deaf or hard of hearing may also have strong visual communication skills. Having to rely on gestures, shapes and text to understand a message as well as possible makes it possible to better understand visual communication and its creation in a creative way. Digital manufacture and Sabooj are two French companies that use these skills as a strategic asset.
These skills are not so obvious in reality. They require a welcoming environment where the deaf or hard of hearing person has their place and where they are not sidelined by their difference.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing must also dare to face difficult situations with their difference in order to in order to to show that she is much more than a person deaf or hard of hearing : it is a person with a specific experience, which allows him to develop skills which are specific to him and which are out of the ordinary.
The condition for developing these skills is the acceptance of the difference, whether it is one’s own or that of a colleague. The crucial point is not to limit the responsibilities of the deaf or hard of hearing person because of his handicap. On the contrary, we need him give the opportunity to go further if it wishes, without forcing it.
Deafness and hard of hearing at work beyond prejudice
A person with a hearing disability can achieve even the most “unrealistic” dreams. Of course, the path will be more winding, but the difficulties encountered are also part of the wealth of hearing impairment.
There are many examples that show that hearing impairment is compatible with teamwork activities, communication with others, the ability to create… and the leadership qualities that go with it.. Johanna Lucht is the first deaf-born NASA engineer to take part in the control of the launch of a special shuttle. Award-winning Hollywood actress Marlee Matlin delivers her vision: « Who Said I Have Limits? I Can Do Anything But Hear. Yes, I Cannot Be A Singer, Phone Operator, Or Piano Tuner , but there are a lot of things I can do in life. Why dwell on my perceived « disability » or « limitations » when I can show them that life is full of possibilities for everyone. «