Using badges and communication cards to let people know you have a hearing loss

Some deaf people find that it can be very helpful to let people know about their hearing loss.  Some people just tell the people they meet either as a matter of course or when they feel they need to, others uses badges or a Communication Card to do this. Some people find that the main advantage of the Communication Card is that it gives useful tips on how to communicate with deaf people.  Once people know what they need to do, they may be more helpful.

Other people do not like the people they meet knowing about their hearing loss.  Some people have said it makes them feel vulnerable. 

Some people say they only tell the people that they have a hearing loss if they feel comfortable with that person.  If they don’t feel comfortable, then they don’t tell them.

What some people said about letting people know about their hearing loss:

  • I feel that if people don’t know that I have a hearing problem then they can’t be expected to speak to me in a helpful way – they’re not mind-readers!  However, I am careful who I tell – if I don’t feel comfortable about a particular person knowing, I don’t tell them and just bluff my way through the conversation.
  • I tell people I meet straight away that I have a slight hearing problem.  I use my communication card which tells them what they need to do.
  • I only tell people I’m deaf if I have to and if I feel it is safe to do so.

It’s up to you whether or not you decide to tell people about your hearing loss. Below is some information on badges and the Communication Card and how to obtain them.

21.i. Badges

Hearing Concern Link sell several badges, some with the hearing symbol on, some which says things like “hard of hearing, please speak clearly”, “please bear with me I’m hard of hearing”, “Deaf”, or has a picture of the ear symbol, etc.

This is what some people said about letting people know that they have a hearing loss:

1. I always wear a badge saying “deaf” under my lapel and I show it when I am stuck. I then tell them how to help me.

2. I only show my badge when I am in the bank, etc. This is to prevent the general public seeing that I am deaf and perhaps following me home.

3. I have several badges. I have one for each jacket/coat/cardigan so I am never without one.

4. I don’t use the badge that says “Bear with me”. Why should people bear with deaf people? We have rights.

The badges are available from Hearing Link

21.ii.  Communication Card (from Hearing Link)

Hearing Link’s Communication Card

The Communication Card gives simple tips for the speaker to make communication more easeful for the hearing impaired person.

The Communication Card can be obtained from Hearing Link.

22. Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme

The scheme is used in several countries, including the UK. It allows someone with hidden disabilities to indicate to others that they may need extra help or extra time to complete something, etc, depending on their disability.  So it could be that they have autism, or need to get to the loo quickly, or have a hearing loss, or have dementia, etc. 

You can find out more about the Sunflower Scheme on their website: