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Hearing in Groups

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Group meetings can be hard for a person with hearing loss. However, with a little creativity and advance planning, listening in group situations can be easier.

Review these tips for improving your hearing at meetings.

  • Plan ahead. Ask for advance copies of the agenda and handouts if they are available.

  • Be your own advocate. Let the group know that you have a hearing loss, and that you would appreciate it if people would face you when they are speaking.

  • Pick your seat carefully. Choose a seat that is centrally located where you can see the facial expressions of the person speaking. If there is bright sunlight, position yourself so you do not have to look into the light to see the speaker’s face. Move to another seat if you can not see well or if your view of the speaker is not clear.

  • Request notes from the meeting. If you have trouble following the meeting, ask for a copy of the notes. Ask for an explanation of any information you do not understand.

  • Repeat questions from the audience. Ask the moderator or speaker to repeat any questions other people ask during the meeting.

  • Use assistive equipment. Find out ahead of time if special assistive equipment is available and how to request it. Special equipment may be available both for individuals who have personal hearing aids and individuals with hearing loss who do not have hearing aids. Keep copies of e-mails and letters you receive. Check to see that the devices are in good working order and batteries are charged before the meeting or class begins.

External Source

Better Hearing Institute. Communication Strategies: It Takes Two to Tango!. Accessed March 2008. Available at:

American Academy of Audiology. Sensible Strategies for Better Communication with People who are Hard of Hearing. Accessed March 2008. Available at:

Author: Dr. Tomi Browne

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