People say, "Get a job!" But they don't understand it's not that easy for deaf and hard of hearing or hearing impaired people because prospective employers won't communicate with us with the tools we use. They put our applications aside and we never "hear" from them.
When we follow up, the position has been filled by someone else, even if we are more qualified than the person they hired. This has happened most my adult life. I volunteer, yet, according to Vocational Rehabilitation, it is NOT work. They turned me down to purchase hearing aids for me because I've not "worked" for nearly 30 years, not from lack of applying for employment. I've volunteered at my children's schools, and several non-profit organizations. This will be my 4th year of volunteering at a school in Harrisburg one day a week. Yet, because I'm not in the workforce as a paid employee, I am not worthy of hearing aids according to Vocational Rehabilitation. Hearing aids are not covered by insurance. Some insurance companies will reimburse you AFTER you pay for them. Who has that kind of money, especially those on disability?
When I went to get a pair of hearing aids a number of years ago, I was told I was only allowed one hearing aid with my Social Security insurance. Only one. Does this make sense? Do we give people with vision impairments only 1 corrective lens when both eyes need correction?
So, those hearing aids I need? I won't be getting them from vocational rehabilitation. At this point, my recovery is going so slow, I most likely won't be attending those college classes until next fall. That's ok. I've waited this long to attend, I can wait another several months.
Here's a little video to show you how the hiring process works with people in Human Resources and the Employment arena when it comes to deaf and hard of hearing or hearing impaired people. Be sure to catch their "helpful hints" to employers regarding hiring the deaf at the end of the video, it's very enlightening.
What Would You Do?
I have great hopes that things will start changing for our deaf and hard of hearing young people trying to access the work force now that we have so many new tools to help with accessibility and with more deaf awareness today than ever before.