In a recent online lecture, “A Deaf Surgeon Comes Into His Own: Insights for Improving Outcomes with Hearing Loss,” Seattle-based ENT consultant Chad Ruffin, who wears bilateral cochlear implants, shared the challenges that surfaced in his time in the medical field – compounded by the internalized ableism mentioned by many deaf entrants to competitive workplaces.
Work Ethic Gets Overlooked
Ruffin was sidelined in his medical studies despite believing that hard work pays off ultimately. Students who’re deaf and gleaning details in classes, can need to put in ten times the effort of their hearing peers for similar outcomes, and this work ethic often isn’t valued or acknowledged by potential employers and sponsors.
Networking and mentoring led Ruffin into the placements, fellowships and advanced training ENT consultants need. Sadly, a deaf person is often challenged for wanting a career in the first place.
Self-Disclosure in The Audiology Field
Trainee audiologists meet similar challenges and attitudes about their perceived competence, with strong clinical leads having a major role in facilitating placements and internships. Statistically, 11 per cent of graduate audiology students have hearing issues, with 3 per cent wearing no amplification (source: Student Academy of Audiology 2020 Audiology Student Census).
Happily, this growing cohort of deaf and hard of hearing (dhh) audiologists can feed into analyses of solving clinical challenges and logging solutions for future reference. Examples include the students’ personal motivation, self-efficacy, hearing loss (HL) disclosure, and terminology preferences – with the word ‘impairment’ best avoided altogether in clinical contexts, for clear reasons.
Putting In The Hours, To Be The Same
We’re aiming for the same outcomes as you – not better than yours.Caroline Carswell, explaining deaf students’ need to work so hard, to people who visibly feel threatened by a work ethic.