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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. Stop the speaker if you are unable to discern the words they are saying to you. Tell the speaker to talk slower or use whatever means you need to understand what is being said. Be assertive!

If you have a planned visit to a medical appointment or will stay in the hospital, call in advance of your appointment and request the accommodations your need, such as a CART provider or staff to wear clear masks. Contact the hospital ahead of time to arrange the accommodations you need.



  • Each time a medical person enters your room they ask you, “What is your name and 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 to use speech-to-text apps such as or LiveTranscribe on Androids, Roger Pen, mini-mics and related all chargers.


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


  • Bring a sign with you or request a sign 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 and speak in a low voice.  LOW AND SLOW.


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


  • Stop the speaker to remind them you are Hard of Hearing or deaf.  


  • 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 tell them you cannot hear on the telephone. Ask the doctor, nurse or medical person to come to you.


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


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

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