Hearing Loss/Impairment And Interpreting
Thread poster: Ana Naglić

Ana Naglić  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:14
Member (2005)
English to Croatian
+ ...
Aug 28, 2012

How would you handle the situation if you were diagnosed with hearing impairment?
How many interpreters with hearing impairment/hearing aid do you know?


The Misha
Local time: 19:14
Russian to English
+ ...
I am one - and it's not a sentence. Aug 28, 2012

My hearing has always been at 50% tops in my best ear, and it has never been a problem professionally. If you do simultaneous, it matters little since you can always adjust the volume up. I don't, I only do consecutive, and I wear hearing aids when I do. That usually does it. Just make sure you are as close as possible to the speaker and, preferably, look him or her in the face. That's it.


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:14
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not the best hearing Aug 28, 2012

All my life my hearing has been somewhat deficient; not enough to be classified as hearing impaired, and good enough to get by in most normal situations. But when interpreting I have to make sure I have the best possible working conditions including a good, clear sound feed with good volume and/or the ability to be mobile and to get close to the speaker. Some situations I have to avoid entirely because I may have no guarantee that I will be able to hear and understand well enough to to a proper job.

It is just something I have had to compensate for all my life. I think that anyone whose hearing is worse than mine will find that interpreting is not for them.


Alison Sparks (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:14
French to English
+ ...
For those who aren't normally hearing impaired....... Aug 28, 2012

Try having "glue ear", otitis media or 'otite sérouse' as the French call it.

Even with my hearing totally intact, I've found interpreting difficult enough in a room full of people who argue/chat incessantly during presentations.

However, for the last few months I've been suffering from "glue ear" as a result of allergies, and I'm completely lost as far as hearing a conversation is concerned without trying to interpret! Hence I've had to refuse a few jobs.............icon_frown.gif

Hats off to Henry and The Misha for managing, and although my problem will be solved next month with a small operation (hopefully not too painful as I'm a real coward), I've been warned that this is just but the start of further problems, so it would be interesting to know how others cope.


Liviu-Lee Roth
United States
Local time: 19:14
Romanian to English
+ ...
75% loss in lt. ear and over 50% loss in rt. ear Aug 28, 2012

So what !
I lost my hearing on the left side when I was 17 ( a stupid schoolmate blasted a shotgun 10 cm from my ear) but I have been able to interpret for over 15 years. Henry and Misha pointed out how to manage this ”impairment”. Over the years I learned how to read lips, I purchased a good (... and expensive) pair of hearing-aids and, if you don't understand something, just ask for a repetition.

Good luck !

[Edited at 2012-08-28 22:14 GMT]


Local time: 01:14
Member (2007)
English to Polish
+ ...
Got some impairment in the right ear caused by a blast (30% loss) Aug 29, 2012

But as said earlier it is not a problem in simultaneous interpreting at all. It may be some problem in consecutive interpretation, however a tiny behind the ear hearing aid will do - it depends on the degree of your impairment. Now, most people have some degree of hearing loss, but they don't realize it. I was not aware of mine until I had to see an audiologist as a part of a selection procedure.


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