Self Advocacy for
Hospital Safety

SELF ADVOCACY is the key to navigating the hospital setting or any medical situation you may encounter.  Always tell the doctors, nurses and medical staff that you are hard of hearing. Continue to tell each person that you have hearing loss especially if you are unable to discern the words they are saying to you. If possible, visit the hospital ahead of time to inquire about what accommodations they have for people with hearing loss.





  • Each time a medical person enters your room they ask you, “What is your name?” and “What is your date of birth?”  Give your name, date of birth and state “I am Hard of Hearing” or “I am deaf”


  • Wear your hearing aids or cochlear implant processor and make sure they are working properly. Bring extra batteries & charger(s).


  • Bring assistive listening devices that you normally use – Smartphone, Roger Pen, mini-mics and related chargers


  • Wear your eyeglasses (if appropriate) so that you can see the speaker.


  • Bring a sign with you to be placed on your door or above your bed reminding staff that you are Hard of Hearing or deaf.


  • Ask that your medical record reflect that you are Hard of Hearing or deaf.


  • If you do not understand what is said, ask for repetition or clarification. If you miss part of the message, repeat the part you did hear and then say “please repeat what you said” instead of “What?”


  • Ask the speaker to slow down, speak in a low voice.  LOW AND SLOW.


  • Face the speaker and ask the speaker to please face you.


  • Remind the speaker that you are Hard of Hearing or deaf.  BE ASSERTIVE!


  • Bring paper & pencil, dry erase board & markers, boogie board. Ask the speaker to write the message on the paper or board.


  • If you are asked to use the telephone explain that you are Hard of Hearing or deaf and cannot hear on the telephone. Ask the nurse to speak on your behalf.  ASK FOR HELP WITH THE TELEPHONE.


  • For you safety you NEED to understand what is said to you. Do not bluff!


  • The words “please” and “thank you” go a long way.