Should or shouldn’t I disclose my hearing loss?

The decision to disclose or not disclose your hearing loss can be quite challenging and youth are often fearful of appearing incompetent or less valued if it is discovered they have a hearing loss. Some people are quite open, disclosing their hearing loss and having realistic discussions about the challenges they face. Others prefer not to disclose their hearing loss, for their own personal reasons. There is no right or wrong answer, but it is important to know how to handle your hearing status when challenged or asked. Develop personal strategies in dealing with questions or concerns as they arise.

There are advantages and disadvantages to disclosing or not disclosing your hearing loss, depending on what you are doing or the specific activity you are involved in. For example, you may not want to disclose your hearing loss on an application form for a job so that the recruiter will look at your skills, experience and training and not be distracted by the hearing loss, but on the other hand you may have a recruiter who is looking for persons with disabilities to increase diversity within their workplace. Also, if you are accepted into university you may want to disclose your hearing loss in order to access communication accommodations in the classroom (i.e. real-time captioning services) rather than being lost in a large university classroom without access to communication. It's a balancing act.

A positive attitude and the opportunity to share your experiences with others with hearing loss sends you well on your way towards living a good life with hearing loss. Be realistic about the things that challenge you, and focus on the things you are good at. You must be diligent in educating yourself about issues such as available assistive hearing devices that could be of help to you in your learning or work environment.

In Canada alone, more than 1.3 million people have some degree of hearing loss. Having a hearing loss can impact a person in various areas of life - from personal relationships to learning at school. You can contact with the subject line "disclosure" for more information.