Hard of Hearing Information

Did you know?

1 out of 10 people in the United States has a hearing loss? (CDC Survey).

At age 65, 1 out of 3 people has a hearing loss?

Hearing loss ranks with arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart disease as one of the most common physical conditions?

There are 43 million Americans with disabilities — of those, 28 million have hearing loss?

It is estimated that 30 school children per 1000 have hearing loss (Davis)?

Only about 30% of English language sounds are visible on the lips? Without sound for differentiation and feedback, many sounds (words) look identical on the lip. Try the following: maybe, baby.

Communicating with Hard of Hearing People

Remember, a hearing aid does not mean the individual hears normally. There still may be difficulty hearing, even when wearing the hearing aid, especially in noisy situations and rooms with poor acoustics.

Speak slowly and clearly, taking care to round off words without exaggerating. Don’t shout. You may have to raise your voice a little, but shouting will only distort your words and could cause severe discomfort and/or embarrassment to the listener. Be careful in the pronunciation of proper names as they are especially difficult to understand.

Do not speak with anything in your mouth such as a pipe or cigarette. Likewise, make sure your hands are away from your mouth.

Move away from background noise. Turn down the radio, TV, or stereo before speaking. People with hearing loss find it extremely difficult to hear above background noise or to selectively listen when there is other competing speech. Select seating in restaurants, and other such places, in the areas of least background noise and distraction.

Do not attempt to talk to the Hard of Hearing person from another room. Not only is the distance and intervening obstacles too great form them to hear you adequately, they cannot see your face. Nearly all Hard of Hearing people lipread to some degree.

Open your mouth sufficiently when speaking, but do not exaggerate lip movements.

Always face the person and make sure your face has adequate light on it.

Some people have difficulty hearing certain speech sounds. In these instances try rephrasing what you have said. Endless repetition of the same words seldom helps.

Determine what mode of communication the person prefers — talking aloud and speechreading; paper and pencil or Sign Language.

Whenever possible, be sure a microphone and public address system, a room loop, or other assistive listening device is used for meetings, lectures, and so on.

Do not hesitate to ask what you might do to make yourself better understood.

Take care that you are talking to the person, and not down to the person. There is a tendency to speak in a humiliating, patronizing, and degrading way, especially when speaking to a hard of hearing person.

Click here for "Facts on Hearing Loss"


  • Types of Hearing Loss
  • Facts on Hearing Loss in Adults
  • Facts on Hearing Loss in Children
  • Early Hearing Detection & Intervention (EHDI) Recommendations
  • Methods and Costs for Newborn Hearing Screening
  • Benefits of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI)
  • Facts on Hearing Aids
  • Facts on Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)

Click logos for more information from the

National Hearing Loss Association of America

Hearing Loss of America

and the

Hearing Loss Association of Michigan

Hearing Loss Association of Michigan