I just want to start this blog off by stating that I know I’ve only recently started to lose my hearing, and this is all really new to me. I’m not coming from the perspective of someone who has been hard of hearing (HoH) for their whole life. This is a journey I am on, and I’m just sharing my experiences with you along the way.

Over the last few months I’ve really noticed my hearing starting to deteriorate, and I’m having to ask people to speak up, face me or repeat what they’ve said. However, yesterday I experienced something that really got me frustrated, and I was already in an annoyed mood before this happened.

To give you a very brief back story, I’d been trying to upgrade my phone with EE, and they had not sent my phone, so they sent me to a store, made me call them up, sent me to another store (you get the hang of how frustrated I was by this point). By the time I got to my final store, I went in and explained the problem. One of the members of staff decided to take me over to sit down and help me with the problem.

Now, this is where I really got my back up. He was mumbling under his breath and not facing me, so I actually said to him “I can’t hear what you’re saying, I have a slight hearing loss, could you speak up please?” and do you think he changed the way he spoke? Of course not!

I was in that store being helped by him for the best part of an hour, and I had to ask him countless times to speak up, and not ONCE did he listen to me. I ended up walking away feeling so annoyed and angry towards EE for so many reasons, but that was the worst one.

However, this has lit a fire under me. As if I didn’t want more deaf awareness and Sign Language taught enough, I want it even more now! It’s unacceptable that people can act like this, even after they’ve been told. I’ve always knows about the barriers my parents have faced over the years, but now I’m beginning to feel the frustrations too. So I’m going to use that negative feeling and turn it into something positive and continue to fight for what I believe in!

Tags : DeafEEHoH


  1. I get the same everywhere I go. I’m ashamed to say I even get it at home. I’ve started to say things like ‘forgive me if I stare at your face so I can lip read.’ It makes them hyper aware and they really start to focus on what they are saying. Its cruel I know, And I felt guilty, at first. But I need to hear what they are saying and they weren’t speaking up. How else am I gonna hear them?

  2. Feel your frustration Wayne. I even get it at home too.
    It sometimes now even makes me shy of certain situations such as yours in EE shop. Even with hearing aids i still miss things said. But you are right people need to learn to speak clearly. Loads mumble and talk facing away from you. I find phone calls the worst.
    I truly do now have so much more appreciation for all the Deaf children I have worked with over the years and the total lack of Deaf awareness teachers and schools had.
    Good luck Wayne.

  3. I know this feeling only too well growing up with my hearing loss. Unfortunately I can’t say it improves with time. Many times when I’ve asked people to speak up they either mumble more or even worse cover their mouth or turn away. The worst reaction I’ve had is people speak slower and louder but in a very condescending way, this frustrates me and I find it extremely rude, another one is when I say I’m sorry I can’t hear you can you speak up and they reply ay? Like they have struggled to hear me but in a joking way ….that gets old, very quick!
    Hopefully you will find strategies that will help you but other than that all I can say is ignore it …It’s Just pure ignorance. 😏

  4. I’ve always said sign language should be learnt at school growning up. As you never know when something is going to happen it’s a good skill to have

  5. I sympathise.
    I have had a hearing aid for a year now; I do find that people don’t speak clearly and when asked to repeat things are less than helpful and, for some reason, offended! I also have this at home.
    As a therapist I tell clients that I have a hearing aid because I sometimes have to take it out. I don’t always catch every word so my brain fills in the gaps – not always appropriately!
    I did BSL Level 1 years before I had my hearing loss and have signed the petitions for BSL to be added to the school curriculum.

  6. I’ve gotten this my entire life. I was born hoh. I was lucky to have picked up lip reading over time.

    My one sister and her children I do keep in contact with still figure it is my problem to figure out. They try to call me over the phone although they know over the last few years speaking on the phone for me is almost impossible.

    I’ve also tried arranging setting up email or text messaging notifications for dental appointments and they refuse to do it. They still call my phone expecting me to pick up or get their message to confirm an appointment. When I don’t and show up for said appointment they’re upset I didn’t call back to confirm. It has gotten unbearable. My appointments are torturous because they simply ignore that I’m hard of hearing most of the time unless the dentist yells really loud into my ear sarcastically asking me if I can hear. I’ve often left almost in tears. My doctors work with me thankfully because I have chronic fibromyalgia that is quite debilitating and I see them far too often to have them not work with my hearing loss.

    I’ve had people silently mouth words thinking I should be able to lip read exactly what they say only to be accused of making up being hoh. I’ve had people walk ahead of me talking away where I can’t hear anything they are saying and finally I just give up. Others have yelled or over exaggerated words thinking that would help while some try to test my hearing continuously. “Can you hear that?” or “Can you hear this?”.

    The last year or so I’ve finally started learning to strengthen my signing skills for me because I live in a world of hearing people although I’m not exactly hearing. I’m trying to maintain a positive outlook to help with how the rest of the world reacts at times. It gets really lonely and frightening because all of the things people pull in what they consider good fun can have harsh results to the people they are doing it to.

  7. Hi Wayne, I work for a large supermarket retailer and am HoH myself, My colleagues know to speak up or face me but I still find it hard to hear some people. my local union promised to set up a BSL course but never started, I will quite happily sign up to a mandatory bsl competent person on every shift much as you find first aiders etc..let me know if you get anywhere with this..

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