You must be able to hear the speaker(s).

We could describe this in 3 steps:

  1. Assess your need(s).
    Understand what YOU need in order to hear (the other person/the speaker/the group/the actors on stage, etc.). Do you need the music turned down? Do you need the person to face you? Do you need to move toward a quieter environment? Only the HOH person can know what is needed and this is the critical part that must first take place.
  2. Communicate your needs.
    The HOH person must make those needs known, and in a patient, understanding manner. For example, “Excuse me, I need you to ___________  so I can hear you better” or “Could we move to that corner over there where it is quieter? I can hear you better with no noise competition”. It is important that the reason for the speaker to make a change is expressed; he/she will be more likely to make the change when the reason is to be better understood.
  3. Evaluate and respond to the attempts made by the speaker(s).
    It is so important that you as the HOH (hard of hearing) person understands that you must initiate the process toward better hearing, and learn some key steps toward the desired result. The HOH person should make some comments as to how the change made a difference in order for the speaker to know what helped, and will be more likely the next time to help in that way. For example, “Thank you for speaking more slowly. It made a big difference for me” or, “I appreciate what your extra effort to make sure I could hear the discussion. Thanks a lot!”

Author: Flo Spratt