Does my Child Need Hearing Aids? A Comprehensive Guide
June 21, 2023
sound localization
Sound localization – the biggest challenge for people with unilateral hearing loss
June 28, 2023

Telling People You Wear Hearing Aids

Most people will not know you wear hearing aids until you tell them. So telling people you wear hearing aids is one of those more important conversations to have as early as possible.

Include it in Your Introduction

Telling people I wear hearing aids is always part of my introduction. It includes a quick tip or two on how others can communicate so that we can have a great conversation. I like to be funny with it too. I’ll say things like, “Hey,  I know we are just meeting for the first time, but just so you know I will often repeat back things that I hear you say. Some of it will be right on topic. Other things will get you laughing because I totally did not understand what you said. I just ask you to please be patient or to try rewording what you said.”

This lightens the mood. At the same time, it helps others understand how you are adapting during the conversations. You’ll also find people will start to adjust their voices. They may even become curious to know more about your experiences.

Be Your Own Advocate

Let your friends, family, and coworkers know how your hearing aids work. This is especially important in loud environments like classrooms, auditoriums, restaurants, or large open meetings. Many times, when I’m in these areas, I tend to sit near the presenter or walk around to get closer to the sound of others speaking.

If there is an opportunity before the event, I’ll let the presenter/team lead know why I’ll be walking around. This also allows the presenters to introduce the idea in their opening comments, so others understand it’s okay to be walking around during group discussions.

We must be advocates for our own needs and take the time to share with others how distractions make it harder to hear.  To many, music playing in the background is relaxing as people talk.  Most people don’t realize that while hearing aids will help with hearing, sometimes the compounded sounds become too overwhelming to focus on the messages being shared. 

“We must be advocates for our own needs and take the time to share with others how distractions make it harder to hear.”

Phone calls tend to be challenging with all different volumes, background distractions, and dialects. If I’m on the phone with someone I don’t regularly talk to, I will immediately let them know of my hearing aid. You’ll find people to be accommodating and open to alternative methods of conversation. 

Read more: How to cope with hearing loss and noise

In places where there are constant announcements like airports and train stations, I make it a habit to approach the agent at the counter to let them know of my hearing aid. It’s a simple conversation to have them let you know of important announcements related to your specific flight. Gate changes are often announced via the public address (PA) system and are slow to be communicated across the departing monitors. Yes, I’ve missed flights because of this.  Lesson learned.

When it comes to drive-thru restaurants, it’s often easier to just order at the window if online ordering is unavailable. You might get some weird looks as you mess up their order intake system, however, getting the right food is more important than a process that doesn’t help you hear.   

Be Open

Talk about your hearing aids with children. They are always curious and want to know, “What’s that thing in your ear?”  My favorite response is, “It helps me to hear what you are saying.  So, when you want to talk to me,  make sure you have my attention and speak up, okay?”  Before long, they will be the ones to tap you on the shoulder while others are trying to get your attention.

No matter where you are or who you are talking with, it is important to make sure those around you understand how to best communicate with you. All of this starts with letting people know you wear hearing aids.

Author Details
Mike has been supporting businesses in their efforts to adapt and innovate for the past 28 years as a Technology Advisor and IT Construction Project Manager. Recognizing the opportunity to share his unique experiences, Mike writes to offer his personal insights as an individual who is hard-of-hearing. He enjoys traveling and has embraced the RV lifestyle with his wife and two corgis.