1. Be Patient with Us
We may need you to repeat yourself a few times before we fully understand what you’re trying to tell us. We aren’t doing this to annoy you. We just really want to know what you’re saying.
2. We Aren’t Ignoring You.
Remember that we can’t hear as well as you can. If we don’t respond or react to something you said, it’s probably because we didn’t hear you. Try getting our attention by touching us, waving at us, or stomping lightly on the floor.
3. If We Need Help, We’ll Ask You for It.
Most of us are pretty independent and can do things on our own. Please don’t assume that you have to help us with everything because we’re hard of hearing. If we need your help, we’ll ask you for it.
4. It May Take Us a Little Longer to Get Ready.
We have one or two extra things to put on every morning and take out every night. It doesn’t take too long to put hearing aids on, but please remember that hearing aids are an essential part of our ensemble. Please give us time.
5. Sometimes We May Not Say Something Correctly.
Being hard of hearing often messes with our speech because we can’t hear words correctly. While most of us go through years of speech therapy, there will be times when we muddle up a word. Some of us may even have a slight accent. Please be understanding and supportive. Laughing at us doesn’t help.
6. Loud Noises Can Be Painful.
Yes, we cannot hear as well as you can, but that doesn’t mean that loud noises don’t hurt our ears. Some hearing loss is caused by damaged hair follicles that would normally protect us from loud noises. Because our hair follicles are damaged, loud noises can be pretty painful.
7. Don’t Assume We Can’t Do Something.
While some things may be challenging for us, there are a lot of things that we can do. Please don’t assume we can’t do something because we’re hard of hearing. We may need assistance or accommodations, but we can do things just as well as everyone else, and we may even do it better if given the chance.
8. Not All of Us Know Sign Language.
Not all hard of hearing or deaf people know sign language. This is a pretty common misconception. A lot of us learn to talk and never learn sign language.
9. We Can Be Self-Conscious.
Having a disability is hard, especially one that makes you obviously different from everyone else. We can be rather self-conscious due to teasing and bullying we endured as children. Please don’t stare at our hearing devices or whisper about the way we talk.
10. We Want to Be Loved.
We may be different, but we want to be loved just as much as everyone else.