Hard of hearing is a descriptive term used when making the distinction among people with hearing loss; for example, people who are deaf and hard of hearing. People often use the term hard of hearing to describe themselves no matter the audiological level of hearing loss. Typically, people who use residual hearing, amplification and/or hearing assistive technology and who do not use sign language as a primary mode of communication, consider themselves hard of hearing rather than deaf. Generally, people who consider themselves hard of hearing, no matter their level of hearing loss, are committed to participating in the hearing world using speech reading, residual hearing, technology, and sometimes sign language. The term hard of hearing is always used with the “people” descriptor as in “people who are hard of hearing” or “hard of hearing people.” The term “the hard of hearing” should not be used.
Hard of Hearing (HoH) refers to someone who doesn’t hear well. This may be because they were born with a hearing loss or they may have lost some or all of their hearing later in life.
Many hard of hearing people don’t know that they have a hearing loss. Some simply deny it, even though they may know that their hearing is diminished. Some people who are completely deaf may consider themselves hard of hearing. In all, nearly 10% of all people have some level of hearing loss.