We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Some Tips for Dealing with the Hard of Hearing?

Michael Pollick
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Many people have elderly relatives with profound hearing loss, or friends who have noise-induced hearing loss caused by years of exposure to loud music or industrial sounds. Dealing with the hard of hearing can be frustrating at times, since conversations may have to be repeated several times or important instructions go unheeded. It can be easy to confuse hearing loss with a lack of mental comprehension, as well. There are several ways to deal with those who are hard of hearing so that both parties don't become hopelessly frustrated or socially embarrassed.

One way to deal with someone with hearing loss is to enunciate words slowly and clearly. This does not mean "dumbing down" the conversation, however, which can come across as condescending or insensitive. Instead, look directly at the person's face when speaking and only raise the volume level to a point where a comfortable conversation can still be held, not a full shout. A person with a naturally low speaking voice may want to raise the tone as well as the volume. Many people who have hearing issues cannot hear very low bass tones, but can hear a woman's voice quite well.

It is also important to remember that a person who is hard of hearing is not completely deaf. He or she will not automatically understand sign language or know how to read lips. These are skills acquired over time by those who are profoundly deaf, not necessarily those who have partial hearing loss. A person who has hearing issues may be able to hear better from one ear than another, so speaking to that side exclusively may solve many communication problems.

Some people may wonder why a person who is chronically hard of hearing does not pursue medical treatment to improve their condition or obtain a hearing aid. There are many possible answers. Hearing aids can be prohibitively expensive for older people on limited incomes or those without sufficient health insurance. A professional audiologist can assess the level of hearing loss and suggest various treatments, but cannot force a client to obtain a hearing aid or undergo delicate surgery. Some people may also understand their hearing is not as good as it once was, but admitting such a decline can be socially or professionally embarrassing for them.

There are several products on the consumer market which can amplify ambient and background noises through a small electronic microphone and earphones. These devices are not generally cost-prohibitive, and may provide some benefit for those who are hard of hearing due to noise exposure or aging. Some devices will even fit discreetly in the user's ear canal, and no prescription or examination would be necessary.

In the meantime, dealing with someone who is hard of hearing requires patience and understanding. Repeating a conversation may be frustrating for the speaker, but it can be just as frustrating for the person who must ask for the repetition. Losing an important sense such as hearing, especially at an early age, can be a very difficult time in a person's life, so friends, co-workers and relatives should find a way to help that person adjust to a new reality.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WiseGeek, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By anon117085 — On Oct 09, 2010

I've always been baffled by hearing aids. They boost volumes (and sometimes shift pitch) into a range that the deaf-impaired can hear. But why doesn't this put more strain on the remaining hairs in the auditory canal? It must be like being at a strangely distorted pop-concert *all the time*.

Certainly headphones being too loud leads to deafness in teenagers, so do deaf people get deafer over time using hearing aids?

By anon68863 — On Mar 04, 2010

Great information. However, this was left out: another reason a person might not be using hearing aids or other listening devices, is because they don't work for their particular type of hearing loss. Poor hearing is not correctable in the same way poor vision is.

One correction I suggest for the last sentence is changing the words "early age" to, "adult age". Adjusting to hearing loss is never easy, but it's much harder after reaching adulthood and more so late in life.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WiseGeek, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.