Dealing with Clerks


One of the most frustrating parts of my hearing loss is the micro-interactions I have with clerks. In most cases, I throw my aids into the noise program and I’m good. But 10-20% or so of the time and I have literally no clue what the clerk said. For the most part, I’m very direct and to the point in order to limit follow up questions, but sometimes clerks have some random question about if I’d like to add something to my order, etc.

I’m not asking for strategies, but just venting I guess. This can be a confidence-shaker to me especially if I’ve gone some time without having many hearing-related problems. I would love to hear your stories about interactions with clerks since typically these are voices we are not used to.

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That is exactly the kind of thing that has bothered me too. If I remembered I would bump up the volume a click or two. Now i have soft speech increased and that takes care of most of it, and since soft speech, medium speech, and loud speech are all separate I can bump up soft speech in the software and not affect medium or loud speech. The software defaults for soft speech are never loud enough for me.

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Not clear whether you are talking about retail store clerks or accountants’ assistants - both called “clerks” where I live.
If you are talking about the former, my solution has been to switch to online shopping which I find to be much more efficient and less aggravating than dealing with kids employed in brick and mortar store to push sales with little or no knowledge of the products they are selling.



Venting is good if it helps lower your stress. I have no strategies to add, but I agree with your point and experience the same thing most times I try to talk with anyone strange.

My default response is to avoid these situations - e.g. shopping online - but that’s difficult if what you’re after is a cheeseburger at a fast-food place. One could say that such food is unhealthy and should be avoided, but the difficulty persists even if you are ordering a salad.

Frustration can lead to anger and hurt. For me, Humor is the best approach.

I tell the person that I’ll answer if they text the question to my phone; I’ll text back, because I’m acoustically challenged. That brings a laugh if the person understands, or a quizzical look if they don’t.

If they laugh, they usually just repeat the question slowly and distinctly (instead of texting). Problem solved.

If they don’t understand, then we’ve switched places and they can feel the frustration for a second. Then I explain that I don’t hear well, and often that’s sufficient to smooth the interaction.

There is no answer but if you can turn it into a joke, it hurts less.



I’ve found if I say I"m hard of hearing they just speak louder and that seldom helps. What I need them to do is speak more distinctly, articulate better, quit swallowing their words and enunciate, sigh.



I may have to borrow that acoustically challenged line lol



I have all these problems with any clerks in any stores and because of it I take my husband almost everywhere I go just to fill in what I don’t hear. So, that makes me feel more recluse and sad that I can’t shop alone.

So, what do I do in the case he’s not with me? Hum, rely on my aids that don’t meet up with the standards they were meant to do? Lip read lessions?

One bank clerk asked me what was the last four digets of my social security number, didn’t hear her so I asked her to repeat again and I still didn’t get it so I had to tell her I’m hard of hearing and repeat again, she repeated for the third time. That was embarrassing for me and her both.

Okay, I’ll quit here just not a happy camper.



I have no issues with saying I didn’t understand or hear what they say. I was raised to believe honesty is the only way. I have had a few get made that I asked them to repeat and I have walked out and shopped some where else.
I also don’t understand the ones that try to hide the fact they wear hearing aids. For the majority of us hearing aids will never let us hear as good as someone with normal hearing and to compare hearing aids to glasses is foolish at best.



With me it is dealing with clerks who have heavy foreign accents that I have most trouble. No problem with English, Scottish or Irish accents but mostly people from the middle East or Asia. Here in Ontario, Canada this is a real problem because most of the people who I have to deal with now are from these countries (a rapidly changing demographic). When this happens I have a fear that I will be taken as a Xenophobe because I have so much trouble understanding them, but I have no other choice. I never had this problem before my hearing started deteriorating, so I am pretty sure its is because of the deafness. Does anyone else have this problem?



No worries! I thought I had a very fine ear to accept and differentiate accents. But now with hearing loss I’m baffled and embarrassed at times. It’s our ears. You can also add female voices to that (even if I know that’s part of the evidence based hearing loss effect).



I like the idea of online shopping! Where I live, it’s easier, faster and cheaper to buy stuff at Amazon then drive up and over a mountain pass to a city 40 min away.

I’d add to the list of clerk-challenge that of physician’s assistant challenge! In SO many places, the assistants have their back to me as they enter data into a computer (sitting behind a desk, about 5’ away from me). That’s when I simply say, “Sorry, I wear AIDS, can you just face me with your questions?”

I’ve also had to have the odd (seemingly unrelated) question repeated at Costco, WholeFoods. The cagey part of my brain tries to remember these questions for my next visit (“Anything from the Food Court?” or “Are you Amazon Prime member?”). But I feel zero remorse asking a clerk to repeat themselves. I always get the question the 2nd time around as I’m looking at their mouth with an intensity that makes them slow down a bit.

Where I perform like a SUPERSTAR is streaming on the phone! OH YEAH! Give me ANYONE from ANY planet or country right here, and I sling the answers back with the best of 'em. That’s why my mom, mother-in-law and even my hubs toss their customer service issues at me - the pitbull - I get on my Samsung phone, Marvel aids nice and snug and do the needful. :nerd_face:

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Any location where there’s background noise of any sort, such as stores or restaurants, is challenging. I’m having my audi turn up the low frequency noise suppression. Things like fans, air conditioners, and so on. I too have trouble with clerks at times. While it’s easy to suggest turning up noise suppression or using a restaurant program, in practice I don’t think of that until after the fact. Basically I want the all-around program to handle most cases to a reasonable degree. Not perfection, but usable so I don’t have to ask someone to repeat themselves every time.



People try to hide them while manufacturers r advertising designer colors.



I have this issue with people I know ; not just strangers. Sometimes it helps to have them rephrase rather than just repeat the same thing.