Announcing my hearing loss on work calls

Hi - strangely I’m comfortable discussing my hearing loss in private life but may often shy away from announcing on work calls.
Any useful strategies on making such announcements? What’s worked well for others? Does anyone ever email a statement to call participants prior to the call warning you may have difficulties with the call? Quite often its not until I’m on the call that I know whether I am going to struggle to hear or not.

My off the cuff response is to wait until there’s a problem. My hearing is fine for phone calls, but they’re a problem sometimes due to a bad connection, speaker phone, fading battery on a cordless phone, etc. If you’re problems are more frequent, or you’re aware of specific things that cause problems (like a speakerphone), emailing ahead of time seems a decent idea.


I don’t really understand the question. Anytime, in any situation, when I find myself struggling I immediately announce that I have a hearing loss. I mean what’s my alternative. To say yes to everything regardless of what’s being said?


If it’s appropriate why not when they go around the phone to check attendees just say as a reminder to everyone online that you’re HoH and you may ask folks to repeat themselves from time to time? Do your telecons typically have e-mailed minutes? You might want to look into an amplified phone if it’s becoming a serious issue (I assume such things exist).


It’s a crime how bad audio quality is on some phone calls. We advanced zero in 50 years it seems. I play this one by ear (sorry), depending on the quality of the call. Normally I hear quite well on the phone (for some reason), but poorly on a conference call.

Anyway if I think the person is on a Bluetooth device or it’s only one person on speakerphone, I ask them to just use a phone. I feel this is justified since I can tell the quality is poor. If the issue is on my end I’ll just say I’m hard of hearing and ask them to work with me so that we are communicating effectively. I tend to repeat back to them what they say as needed.

Edit: For conference calls I ask talkers to talk as directly as they can into the mic, wherever that might be. People leaning back in their chairs talking at the ceiling are just as ineffective as my hearing loss.


I hear pretty OK directly on the phone too. I think it’s due to the compression inherent in phones (even VoLTE compresses audio).

When I’m in any situations where I have trouble and decide not to pretend I am Hearing, I have a couple ways of doing it. On conference calls, I mention to people that I have genetic hearing loss and can usually hear well, but may need to ask for some things to be repeated, such as names. People usually speak more clearly about everything after that. Other times in person, especially if I can’t hear someone, I will say “thank you for helping me hear.” That usually helps them focus on the fact that they are speaking to someone HOH. If they need coaching, I can smile and say, “speaking slowly and clearly is helpful, thanks for doing that,” especially if they are NOT doing that. It is particularly important to say that when people speak fast, look away or mumble. They are often distracted or don’t know how to help someone who is HOH. Generally people will try, with just a little polite guidance. If not, and it is not a critical communication situation, I respond with a smile and nod and a little polite deafness if they really don’t get it and I’m fed up with trying to hear them.


I use a Bluetooth connection to transmit the call directly to both hearing aids, so I have no trouble hearing on Webex meetings or other phone calls. If I don’t hear it clearly others are already asking for a repeat

I think it’s fine, of course, to announce on the calls that you are HOH, but I would also encourage you to get a better solution to phone calls, where you are not dependent on bad phone speakers.

1 Like

Jeez I wish wireless anything was an option in my line of work. Oh well, have to live vicariously through you all that have it.

I was in the bank the other day and noticed a sign at one of the teller’s window.
It said, I wear hearing aids please face me and speak clearly. Thank You.
I thought that was awesome.
As far as the phone.
I am retired so I do not have a work phone but I do talk a lot on the phone.
If I’m taking to someone and begin to have problems understanding them I will tell them I wear hearing aids.
Then I ask them to please slowdown and speak clearly. It usually works.


I can usually understand what is being said but not necessarily who said it. I’ll just say “I’m sorry, I’m hard of hearing & couldn’t quite tell who was speaking?” I also always say “This is Kim” before speaking which will prompt the other folks on the call to give their name.


I announced to my organization (non profit) that I have a mild hearing loss and that I couldn’t hear in our staff meeting people in our home office (different state) as they all gathered in one large room and use a conference room phone. Nothing really changed after that, people kept talking away from the phone. I sent it in writing and required CART for our meetings as we use Adobe Connect to video as well. They provided that right away for all the larger meetings (I told them i didn’t have much issues with smaller groups or one on one calls for the most part). But still is an ongoing education with that particular meeting as I have to remind people that speak away from the receiver. On other calls that I have issues hearing, I mention it to others and they tend to accomodate as much as they can for me. I work in a social justice cause related organization.

1 Like

If you needed glasses to see would you hesitate to tell people or to wear them? Anyhow, I say tell them. Also, perhaps if you can dial into the call from another room and use ear buds or a headset, that might help. I routinely ask people ( after telling them that the connection is not clear) to use the phone directly vs. the speaker or Bluetooth. You are not alone

Glasses good one. Ask to have their glasses haha.

I’ve never heard of CART before …

I don’t always have a problem on phone calls but when I do I simply say that I am hearing impaired and have hearing aids and ask the person to speak clearly. Some people like to use speaker phone and that usually isn’t clear. A few times I’ve called them back on my cell phone so that I could use Bluetooth to my hearing aids. Some people start yelling and I tell them that they don’t need to do that, just speak slowly and clearly.

I saw this in a bank too!