Signs Of Self

Independent Living Services for people who are Deaf, Hard-of-hearing or Deaf-Blind

[Resources] [ADA & Advocacy] [Age-Related Hearing Loss] [Assistive Tech & Communication] [Communication & Interpreting] [Deaf-Blindness Resources] [Deafness & Deafhood] [Employment Resources] [Hard-of-Hearing Resources] [Health & Lifestyle] [Housing Resources] [Parents & Education Related] [Senior Resources] [Trauma/Combat-Related Loss]

Hard-of-Hearing Resources

You are not alone. Help is available.

    When someone has a hearing loss, the first step in coping with it is simply acknowledging its reality. This may not be easy to do, but you can’t take effective measures to minimize the impact of a hearing loss if you deny it.

    This does not mean that you have to like it. But once diagnosed as having a hearing loss, then it’s time to move on.

There is More to Hearing Loss than Just a Hearing Aid


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than166,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language, and hearing scientists, audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel, and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders.

Hearing Loss Association of America
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) is the nation’s leading organization representing people with hearing loss. According to the National Center for Health Statistics 36 million (17 percent) Americans have some degree of hearing loss making it a public health issue third in line after heart disease and arthritis. HLAA provides assistance and resources for people with hearing loss and their families to learn how to adjust to living with hearing loss. HLAA is working to eradicate the stigma associated with hearing loss and raise public awareness about the need for prevention, treatment, and regular hearing screenings throughout life.

Listening and Spoken Language Knowledge Center
The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing helps families, health care providers and education professionals understand childhood hearing loss and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. Through advocacy, education, research and financial aid, AG Bell helps to ensure that every child and adult with hearing loss has the opportunity to listen, talk and thrive in mainstream society.  The AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language (the Academy) is an independently governed, subsidiary corporation of The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The Academy was established in 2005 and envisions a future where individuals and families will have qualified listening and spoken language professionals available in their immediate geographic area. The Academy is uniquely positioned to advance the revolutionary global opportunity for deaf or hard of hearing individuals to listen and talk via proven technologies and with guidance and education from certified professionals.



  • About 17 percent of adults in the United States, 36 million, report some degree of hearing loss.
  • At age 65, one out of three people has a hearing loss.
  • 60 percent of the people with hearing loss are either in the work force or in educational settings.
  • While people in the workplace with the mildest hearing losses show little or no drop in income compared to their normal hearing peers, as the hearing loss increases, so does the reduction in compensation.
  • About 2-3 of every 1,000 children are hard of hearing or deaf
  • Estimated that 30 school children per 1,000 have a hearing loss.

Statistics sources: National Information Center on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of HealthNational Council on Aging, and the MarkeTrak VIII Study by Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D.

Things to Know about Hearing Loss

  • Hearing loss is a major public health issue that is the third most common physical condition after arthritis and heart disease.
  • Gradual hearing loss can affect people of all ages -- varying from mild to profound. Hearing loss is a sudden or gradual decrease in how well you can hear. Depending on the cause, it can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
  • Degrees of hearing loss: mild, moderate, severe, profound.
  • Congenital hearing loss means you are born without hearing, while gradual hearing loss happens over time.
  • Hearing loss is an invisible condition; we cannot see hearing loss, only its effects. Because the presence of a hearing loss is not visible, these effects may be attributed to aloofness, confusion, or personality changes.
  • In adults, the most common causes of hearing loss are noise and aging. There is a strong relationship between age and reported hearing loss.
  • In age-related hearing loss, known as presbycusis, changes in the inner ear that happen as you get older cause a slow but steady hearing loss. The loss may be mild or severe, and it is always permanent.
  • In older people, a hearing loss is often confused with, or complicates, such conditions as dementia.
  • Noise-induced hearing loss may happen slowly over time or suddenly. Being exposed to everyday noises, such as listening to very loud music, being in a noisy work environment, or using a lawn mower, can lead to hearing loss over many years.
  • Sudden, noise-induced hearing loss from gunfire and explosions is the number one disability caused by combat in current wars.
  • More often than not severe tinnitus (or ringing in the ears) will accompany the hearing loss and may be just as debilitating as the hearing loss itself.
  • Other causes of hearing loss include earwax buildup, an object in the ear, injury to the ear or head, ear infection, a ruptured eardrum, and other conditions that affect the middle or inner ear.
  • For more questions and answers read An Overview of Hearing Loss  Its Signs, Implications and Solutions.

Hearing Aids

The appropriately selected hearing aid is often the most effective therapeutic measure for an individual with hearing loss. However, the process of selecting a hearing aid can sometimes seem daunting.

Know what questions to ask when you’re purchasing hearing aids. Ask what consumer protection laws are available in your state; what the trial period for hearing aids are, and ask about technologies in addition to your hearing aids that are available to make the most of your hearing aids.

Obtain appropriate, well-fitted hearing aids through a certified hearing professional. Professionals who dispense hearing aids include audiologists, hearing aid specialists and ear, nose and throat doctors. Hearing aids are necessary and an important first step in treating hearing loss. Hearing aids are not like glasses they do not correct hearing, but they are helpful in improving hearing and quality of life.

Verify that the hearing professional is following the best practices guidelines€¯ as recommended by the American Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Read more about hearing aids.

Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implants are medical devices that bypass damaged structures in the inner ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. They are surgically implanted to improve hearing in people with severe or profound hearing losses. They can create a range of sound, but do not replace normal hearing.

Cochlear implants are not recommended for all hard of hearing or deaf people. They are not recommended for people who function well with hearing aids.

To be considered for a cochlear implant, you will need to receive an evaluation by a physician and audiologist associated with a cochlear implant clinic.

Read more about cochlear implants.

Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT)

Assistive listening devices (ALDs) expand the functionality of hearing aids and cochlear implants by helping you separate the sounds you want to hear from background noise, and by enabling you to hear when the speaker is more than a few feet away.

Use assistive listening systems provided in many public places. The Americans with Disabilities Actrequires most public venues to provide them. You will enjoy a movie or the theater more if you can hear what’s going on!

Be sure that you can effectively engage in telephone communication; if not, check with your hearing professional. Many alternatives, such as amplified phones and captioned phones systems, are available.

Be sure that you can hear the smoke and carbon monoxide. The typical ones emit a high-frequency tone that is difficult for people with hearing loss to hear, particularly when sleeping. There are systems that emit a low-frequency sound, or use strobe lights or a vibrator as an alerting system. An effective smoke alarm system can be a life saver.

Alarm-Type Devices
Those devices which warn, signal, and alert are called sensory devices and function by providing one or more types of:

  • Tactile
  • Visual
  • Auditory stimuli
  • Examples of sensory devices include wake-up and warning equipment which provide tactile or visual signals that can vibrate a wrist receiver or flash a light when there is a knock at the door or when the doorbell chimes or phone rings.

Basic Communication Tips

In the meantime there are simple things you can do to hear better with or without hearing aids. Communication is a two-way street. Here are tips for the person who hears well, and for the person who has the hearing loss:

Tips for Hearing Person to Communicate with Person who has a Hearing Loss

Set Your Stage

  • Face person directly.
  • Spotlight your face (no backlighting).
  • Avoid noisy backgrounds.
  • Get attention first.
  • Ask how you can facilitate communication.
  • When audio and acoustics are poor, emphasize the visual.
  • Get the Point Across
  • Don't shout.
  • Speak clearly, at moderate pace, not over-emphasizing words.
  • Don't hide your mouth, chew food, gum, or smoke while talking.
  • Re-phrase if you are not understood.
  • Use facial expressions, gestures.
  • Give clues when changing subjects or say new subject.€¯
  • Establish Empathy with Your Audience
  • Be patient if response seems slow.
  • Talk to a hard of hearing person, not about him or her to another person.
  • Show respect to help build confidence and have a constructive conversation.
  • Maintain a sense of humor, stay positive and relaxed.
  • Tips for the Person with Hearing Loss to Communicate with Hearing People

Set Your Stage

  • Tell others how best to talk to you.
  • Pick your best spot (light, quiet area, close to speaker).
  • Anticipate difficult situations, plan how to minimize them.

Do Your Part

  • Pay attention.
  • Concentrate on speaker.
  • Look for visual clues.
  • Ask for written cues if needed.
  • Don’t interrupt. Let conversation flow to fill in the blanks and gain more meaning.
  • Maintain a sense of humor, stay positive and relaxed.

Establish Empathy with Audience

  • React. Let the speaker know how well he or she is conveying the information.
  • Don’t bluff. Admit it when you don’t understand.
  • If too tired to concentrate, ask for discussion later.
  • Thank the speaker for trying

Emergency Preparedness for People with Hearing Loss

Being prepared for an emergency isn’t complex. It’s simply a matter of thinking ahead and gathering what you need well before an emergency occurs. Emergency preparedness is the gift you give to yourself and to those you love the most.

Disaster preparation means taking a look to see what disasters might occur locally and providing a reasonable preparation for that disaster. You can’t stop disasters from happening, but you can have the resources available to prepare and respond appropriately so that the damage it inflicts isn’t catastrophic.

But What if I have a Hearing Loss?

You’re in luck. Within the last decade, there was little information available for people with disabilities in general, and even less for people with hearing loss. Then Hurricane Katrina struck. Organizations stepped up to the plate to analyze what went wrong for people with disabilities and find ways to make disaster preparedness work better.

We see change in local communities that are making plans to include people with hearing loss in their disaster plans. Communities have policies in place to accept people with disabilities, and even have plans for service dogs to remain with us when we enter mainstream shelters. We can see it on the federal level, with new material posted for people with disabilities on the FEMA website.

See the Emergencies pages under the Advocacy Section for laws, regulations and updates to emergency alerts.

[Home] [About Us] [Contact Us] [Calendar] [Photo Gallery] [Resources] [ADA & Advocacy] [Age-Related Hearing Loss] [Assistive Tech & Communication] [Communication & Interpreting] [Deaf-Blindness Resources] [Deafness & Deafhood] [Employment Resources] [Hard-of-Hearing Resources] [Health & Lifestyle] [Housing Resources] [Parents & Education Related] [Senior Resources] [Trauma/Combat-Related Loss]