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Helpful Hints for Communicating with the Hard of Hearing
  • Accept reality. It impacts on their lives, and introduces different elements into your relationship. It isn't going to go away. Reconcile yourself to the fact of their hearing loss. It doesn't change who they are.

  • Speak slowly. Consider your own confusion when you listen to a newscaster on television who rushes through lines, especially when statistics are being quoted.

  • Don't shout. It doesn't help, and it may give the impression that you are angry! Learn to speak distinctly. Careful enunciation is a useful habit to cultivate anyway!

  • Remember that they will have trouble hearing when there is background noise.

  • Don't talk with your back to people with hearing loss. Even if they can't read your lips accurately when you face them, they will get a better sense of what you are saying! Also, if you have a moustache, please trim it so that it does not cover your lips. They NEED to see your lips clearly to lipread accurately

  • Don't start walking away while you are still talking. Your words will come out as gibberish.

  • Agree on a signal that you can use in company if the hard of hearing person's voice is getting too loud. People with hearing loss can't judge their volume, and will be speaking loudly in a crowd to enable them to hear their own voice.

  • Don't show annoyance because you must repeat or because the hard of hearing person seems to have forgotten something you said a few minutes ago. He or she probably didn't hear you the first time.

  • Remember that they have to really focus and concentrate to optimize their comprehension...lipreading is not easy to do for a long stretch...and if they are tired or don't feel good, they will not do as well.

  • Believe them when they tell you they can't hear something...don't ever tell them "they are not listening hard enough"...

  • Be willing to use assistive devices with them to help them enjoy the same things you do...for example, the relay so they can use the phone, or closed captioned tv, so they can enjoy tv shows and videos too..

  • Remember that not all hard of hearing people do sign language. Don't scold them because they don't know sign...they may have tried to learn it and not been successful, or they may not know anyone to do sign with, if they live and work in a hearing population.

  • Have a heart!!! Hearing loss is worse for the afflicted person than for anyone else! Consider that you may also have to learn to live with your own loss someday, as you age....

~About My Hearing Loss~

I was diagnosed at age 15 as having a mild "high frequency dip that would not get any worse". *sigh*.....well, they were wrong about that. Over the years, it both ears....until I reached a point of being profoundly deaf in both ears, at which point hearing aids were no longer effective. So, in September 1996, I had a surgery in Syracuse, NY which time a cochlear implant was inserted in my right ear. It was a 4 1/2 hour surgical procedure, during which time the device was hooked up in 22 places places to nerves in my cochlea. Luckily for me, there were still some live nerves in there to connect to....although not many. A month later, in late October, it was hooked up and I received my first programming, otherwise known as a "mapping". At first, the sounds I heard were scary.....but by Christmastime, I was finding that I heard better with the CI than without it.....and that was a victory. Since then, it's been limited in what it can do, but it's for sure been better than being totally deaf!! My latest news is that my surgeon and audiologist are behind me in my desire to have a new high-tech implant in the other ear as well, so I can hear better. I am hoping to have this done sometime in 2001!!

UPDATE May 2001... My wish came true, and I was implanted in my left (other) ear on April 20, 2001 with Advanced Bionics' new CII Bionic Ear cochlear implant! BIONIC EAR WEBPAGE . I was hooked up to my new CII on May 15, 2001. Now I'm learning to hear with my new will be a slow process, but I'm expecting great and wonderful things from this new, high-tech implant!

UPDATE June 2001... I want to tell you about the hearing loss group I joined early this year. It's called the Say What Club! It has to be the best hearing loss support group in the world! No exaggeration! It's based online, so nobody has to miraculously be able to hear to go to "meetings" like the other organizations. Yes, some do have CART and assistive devices, but some don't. You don't need them for the Say What Club online group! We do have annual conventions and regional get-togethers, so we get to know each other in person also. Please check it out or write Say What Club for information.

UPDATE July 2001... I had my one month testing with my new "bionic ear" implant recently, and did very well! I was actually able to understand about 75% of words such as "hud, hid, heed, heard, who'd" in a soundproof room listening to a CD...I'm not sure if a person with normal hearing could do a lot better than this after listening to about 50 of such words! Also, I've purchased a special telephone (an Ameriphone XL-30) and for the first time in many years, am using the voice/hearing phone (instead of TDD/VCO) with great success! I never thought it would happen, and I am SOOO grateful to the technology being provided by Advanced Bionics Corporation, Cochlear Corp and Med-El, to help people such as myself who can no longer hear!!!


IMPRESSIONS: Ms. Stock appears to receive significant benefit from her cochlear implant device. Detection in the soundfield for warbled pure tones/narrow band noise stimuli is commensurate with hearing at the upper limits of normal to mild hearing loss.

4 choice Spondee test 20/20 (100%)
Iowa Vowel 41/45 (91%)
Iowa Consonant 55/70 (78%)

CID Everyday Sentences 100/100 (100%)
NU#6-Words 32/50 (64%)
NU#6-Phonemes 120/150 (80%)
HINT (quiet) 49/52 (94%)
HINT (+10 noise) 18/55 (33%)

As you all can see, I'm doing really good! My only problem at this point is understanding speech with background sound. My audiologist is working with my insurance company to get pre-approval for me to have some "desensitization therapy" to assist me in maximizing my skills in the presence of noise. Wish me luck, folks!

Update 6/02 - I am doing much better in noisy situations now, without having needed any rehab! YAY! Also, I am now using the Nucleus 22 and the Clarion CII together, so I am bilaterally bionic! The Clarion continues to be my implant of choice, the Nucleus has some problems, but when I wear the 2 together, I hear "surround sound", and it's a great feeling, it is more like normal hearing! I'm now hoping to get a behind-the-ear model for the Nucleus, so that I don't have to wear the body processor any more. Then I'll have behind-the-ear models on both sides, as I have one for the Clarion and that is what I use exclusively now! All is well in my CI world!

UPDATE 10/02: The Nucleus 22 idea didn't work I returned the N22 BTE to my audie, and will be focusing 100% on my Clarion CII. Unfortunately, the N22 still sounds like high pitched cartoon characters, and it takes from my optimal hearing, rather than contributing to it. Oh well, I had to try it!

UPDATE 12/02: My ultimate goal of returning to my former career of social work is about to come true! I have been hired as a caseworker for adult services/long term care, and will be starting my new job on January 6th! I thank my wonderful Clarion CII cochlear implant for this opportunity!!!

UPDATE 6/03: I have just passed my probationary period as a caseworker, and am permanent. I have done it! I am thankful to God, to Advanced Bionics, and to my wonderful CI center....University Hospital in Syracuse, NY (Dr. Woods and Debbie Lightfoot)...for giving me back my hearing so that I could again do the work I love to do!

UPDATE 8/06: On September 28, 2005, my Nucleus 22 was removed and I was reimplanted with the Nucleus Freedom. Apparently my right ear has physiology problems (not sure what), since I still don't hear all that good in that ear, even with the new implant. However, I love being bilateral, and I do wear both implants. My overall hearing has improved due to being able to hear on both sides!! The Nuke Freedom has all kinds of nifty features, and I like it a lot!!!

UPDATE 8/06: My husband Richard and I are cruise agents, and we specialize in setting up the perfect cruise for you at the lowest possible price. If you need accomodations for hearing loss, just let us know and we'll arrange that for you, if it's at all possible! Here is our website, check it out, and email us!!

Below are links to pages that might be helpful to hard of hearing people and their families and friends. My focuses are on late deafness, aural rehabilition (as compared to learning sign), assistive technology for the hearing impaired, and cochlear implants.

~My Favorite Links~

Cochlear Implant Links

Cochlear Implant Information and Resources
Cochlear Corporation's USA homepage...
Cochlear Corporation's Australian Homepage..lots here!!
Advanced Bionics' Website (another cochlear implant company, and a good one!!)
Med El's Website (another good cochlear implant company!)
CI Brand Comparisons
Cochlear Implant Association Inc. (support group for CI users)
Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants
Cochlear Implants
Audiology Net
All Hear, Inc.
Hearing aid batteries and cochlear batteries at offers 8 brands of hearing aid batteries and cochlear implant batteries. Trial Test Packs are available to help you determine the best hearing aid battery for your hearing device. also offers same day shipping and 6 free batteries when you participate in their new hearing aid battery survey.

Other Hard of Hearing Links

New EEOC Publication Addresses Employment Rights of People With Hearing Loss
Hearing Impairments
Hard of Hearing Advocates (Warren Hanna)
The Hearing Loss Help Company
ALDA - Association for Late Deafened Adults
SHHH - Self Help for Hard of Hearing People
Lloyd Hearing Aid Corp (a way to buy hearing aids at a reasonable price!)
Hearing Exchange - Exchanging Ideas and Information on Hearing Loss
Listen Up Web - Specializing in Info for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Ed's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Page
Say What Club (a WONDERFUL support group for all deaf/hoh!)

Homepages of my Cochlear Implant friends

Cochlear Implant Central
Cawamn's Homepage (and Cochlear Implant story)
Hear Again - Back to Life with a Cochlear Implant (Arlene Romoff)

Laney Jane's Cochlear Implant Story
Marilyn's Watercolors (and info re her Cochlear Implant)
Cochlear Implant Personal Stories
Advanced Bionic User Stories
Sue's Cochlear Implant Page
Gail's Cochlear Implant Page
Mary Beth's Cochlear Implant Story
Ryan Duchoeny's Cochlear Implant Story