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Taking Psychometric Tests with a Hearing Impairment

How might a hearing impairment affect your performance?

People with hearing difficulties may be disadvantaged in job selection processes which use psychometric tests to identify the most able candidates. Hearing problems can impact test performance in many ways. For example, candidates may struggle to understand the verbal instructions which often accompany psychometric tests. Furthermore, people who have been without hearing from childhood and primarily use sign language may be less familiar with the English language and, therefore, particularly disadvantaged on tests requiring reading (e.g. verbal reasoning tests) and writing.

How can employers help?

In line with the Disability and Discrimination Act 1995, employers are required to make necessary amendments to ensure candidates with hearing impairments are not disadvantaged by selection processes.  The British Psychological Society (BPS) has yet to develop specific guidelines for testing hearing impaired candidates; however, they outline some of the main considerations in their publication: Psychometric Testing for people with a hearing impairment (BPS, 2010). Here, the BPS recommends that employers:

  • Seek advice from test publishers in regard to what amendments can be made.
  • Make any adjustments on a case by case basis, according to the specific needs of the candidate.
  • Use sign language interpreters for giving instructions and facilitating the test environment but not for interpreting questions on written tests.
  • Provide written instructions if candidates are able to read.
  • Offer candidates practice questions, in order to anticipate potential test difficulties.

How can you help?

If you have a hearing impairment, it is vital that you inform the employer as far in advance as possible, so that they can make the necessary arrangements for you. Try and be specific about the nature of your hearing difficulty and what aids could help you. You might also like to familiarise yourself with the different types of psychometric tests you will be expected to take so that you can anticipate what adjustments would be most helpful to you.  At AssessmentDay you can download a range of practice tests, including verbal reasoning tests, numerical reasoning tests and inductive reasoning tests.