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As you probably know, it is important in an application process to list and analyse your strengths and weaknesses. I will illustrate this with a small example: One strength could be that you can plan and order very well. Perhaps a weakness could be that one plans and organizes so well that one can improvise less.
Now I had a discussion today whether in such a strength – weakness analysis a hearing impairment should be listed under weakness. My interlocutor (hearing impaired) was of the opinion that it should be classified as a weakness. I believe that it should be classified under both.
Of course, I do understand the view of hearing impairment as a weakness. Impaired hearing can affect the functioning at the workplace. Communication with colleagues, for example, is not always easy and then you quickly become a loner instead of a team player. You always have to take into account when communicating with someone with impaired hearing, and conversely, a person with impaired hearing always has to draw attention to his or her hearing impairment, which can sometimes be frustrating for both of them “Do you still not understand me?“ “Do you still don’t know now that I want you to speak clearly?”
Why do I still see a hearing impairment as strength then? Because a hearing impairment usually motivates the affected persons to give their best! Precisely because they hear less or nothing at all, they are more aware of the importance of good communication and make more effort themselves.
And I even dare to go a step further: Hearing impaired employees generally perform better than their peers! They are more concentrated and distracted less quickly, which is usually good for productivity.
Of course, I am aware that you have to take more woring time to communicate with the hearing impaired and that there is a greater risk of misunderstandings, which could be called weakness again. But if a normal hearing colleague for example, is a chain smoker and goes out to smoke several times a day this also consumes working time, but is considered normal.
That many hearing impaired people have to fight their way through life because of their impairment and, despite many high mountains, are able to assert themselves in their own way, I find again a strength that is too little noticed! Impaired hearing has in many cases influenced character traits such as assertiveness and to know what you want. There’s a lot more at stake here than just not being able to make a phone call. In an application, there is often still too little focus on what you can do, but on what you cannot do. Isn’t that why people with impaired hearing find it so difficult to find a job, even though they might be better qualified, only because they can’t hear well?
Now I am curious to see if there are any other opinions or arguments that can list a hearing impairment as weakness, strength or both. If so, as I suspect, I would like to ask you wholeheartedly, dear readers, to share them with me!