Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Government

The principles of the non-discrimination policy adopted in the United States require respectful treatment of all employees, regardless of their characteristics, including gender, race, physical abilities, and so on. Are these principles enough for people with disabilities to have equal access to positions in government? For a non-discrimination policy to achieve its effect, it is accompanied by affirmative action. They allow employers to even out distortions in hiring. Thanks to them, deaf and hard-of-hearing people get additional employment opportunities in government at all levels.

Employment Rules for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The United States Rehabilitation Act requires the federal government to assist people with physical disabilities:

  • When applying for a job
  • When learning
  • During promotion

To implement these tasks, a 12% quota for people with disabilities is guaranteed. And the quota for targeted disability, which includes the deaf and hard of hearing, is 2% for all groups belonging to this category. Also, section 501 of this law states the necessity of equipping the workplaces of people with disabilities with reasonable accommodations.

How Deaf and Hard of Hearing Working Space Is Equipped 

To ensure that employees with hearing problems do not experience inconvenience at work and effectively perform their duties, the workspace is equipped with the following devices:

  • Phones that will amplify the sound and convert it to subtitles on a computer monitor or video phones;
  • Assistive hearing aids of varying intensity;
  • Devices for reducing the level of intruding noises;
  • Visual alerts replacing audio ones to grab the attention of staff in case of emergency;
  • CART technology for instant translation of speech into text broadcast on the monitor screen;
  • sign language interpreter services.

With such devices, deaf and hard-of-hearing employees will have no difficulty communicating, even if it takes up a significant part of their working time. 

How Devices for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Employees are Chosen

The types of devices that will be installed in the workplace of an employee with a disability are determined during the interview. People with hearing loss are accustomed to using different variations of hearing aids. So that they do not retrain and do not fall into a more uncomfortable situation, reasonable accommodations are selected individually for each employee.

Ensuring Equal Access for Other Activities

It would be unfair if the government only provided hearing aids in the workplace. After all, other employees do not limit their communication only to the workplace. Therefore, the principle of equality requires that all programs available to other employees be adapted to the needs of people with hearing impairments:

  • Entertaining
  • Medical
  • Emergency 
  • Social activities
  • Training

According to the US Census Bureau, about 11.5 million people have some degree of hearing loss. To the greatest extent, this problem is typical for older people. However, there is a large number of those who have congenital deafness. For every thousand newborns, between 1.2% and 1.7% of babies are born each year without the ability to hear the richness of the sounds of the world. To make their life path the most adapted to their needs, the US government is implementing a range of support programs. Ensuring equal access to government jobs is one such measure. It is aimed at the full integration of the deaf and hard of hearing into the workforce.