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Hearing Impaired Nurse Looking for Advice

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by LatinaRN1971 LatinaRN1971 (New) New

I am a newbie.....have only been a nurse for 6 months now. I recently relocated to NC about 6 weeks ago and am looking for a new job. I have moderate bilateral hearing loss and wear ITC hearing aids. I am nervous about my job search because of my impairment. My previous job knew of my hearing issues because I had worked for them as a Nurse Tech before becoming a nurse and knew my capabilites, but I worry about how future employers may look at my hearing loss. I never had it get in the way of my patient care....the only problem I have is with the telephone. I went out and purchased a phone amplifier, but still have a hard time hearing some docs especially if they have accents or speak very low. I have come across docs in the past who were very bothered by the fact that I couldn't hear them and made it known that they didn't want to talk to me because of my hearing issues. I have never placed my patients in danger in any way if I couldn't hear an order I always made it a point to get another nurse to verfiy it. My question is how hard will it be for me to get another job with my hearing impairment? Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me.

athena55, BSN, RN

Specializes in critical care: trauma/oncology/burns. Has 38 years experience.

Hey there LatinaRN:

Here are two great websites for resources, advice etc: www.ExceptionalNurse.com

www.amphl.org The Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Loss.

Plus you should arm yourself with information regarding the Americans with Disability Act (ADA): www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-ada.html or www.eeoc.gov/policy/ada.html

There is saying attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt which goes: "No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent"

I personally wouldn't bring up my hearing loss unless you are asking for some types of assistive devices like a TTY or amplified phones in your station. IT should be a non-issue. Would anyone question a person who is legally blind but can function fully with glasses? Maybe I am just biased and hardened regarding working with hearing people inthis world

Hold your head up high. Maybe think about switching your in the ear hearing aid for a BTE (behind the ear). I know they cost $$ but with the T switch you might be able to comprehend conversations better. Or, better yet, what about the newer digital hearing aids? But again you are talking major money.

You have a proven track record of working.

How about inquiring or talking to your 504 officer at your health care facility? You are a professional. Would those ignorant physicians speak or treat another PHYSICIAN that way? Maybe, maybe not....

I need to get ready for my shift. If I can be of any other assistance please contact me.

This is a GREAT Website (ALL NURSES) We are here for you.

Welcome Aboard. Let us know how things work out for you...

all the best,

athena :welcome:

ICRN2008, BSN, RN

Specializes in Infection Preventionist/ Occ Health. Has 5 years experience.

Would asking the facility to buy a TTY device for the telephone be considered a "reasonable accommodation" under the Americans with Disabilities Act? It seems like that would go a long way towards addressing this issue.

I have trouble understanding some physicians whose first language is not English, and my hearing is perfect! I think that sometimes these physicians become defensive because they know that they have a strong accent. They address their insecurities by blaming it on the nurse (or lab tech or whoever else is at the other end of the line).

Thank you for the advice. I know I shouldn't let them get me down....especially when I give my patients 100%, but it's hard when some people consider my hearing to be an annoyance to them. I thought that people would be more understanding being in the medical field, but that simply isn't the case....at least in my experience.

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