Tips for Communicating With Someone Who Has Hearing Loss


[en Español]

Hearing loss is extremely common among adults. Even mild hearing loss can make conversation difficult. Here are some simple ways to communicate more effectively with someone who has hearing loss:

  • Speak clearly and in your regular tone of voice.
  • Don’t shout. Shouting just makes it harder for the person with hearing loss to understand you.
  • Get the person’s attention before speaking.
  • Wait until you are in the same room to have a conversation. Face the person as you speak.
  • Stand or sit 3–6 feet from the listener.
  • Don’t block your mouth when speaking.
  • Talk in quieter places. Eliminate background noise, such as sounds from the TV.
  • When possible, turn on more lights in the room—or move to a room with good lighting.
  • Say the phrase or message in a different way if it appears that a person is having difficulty understanding you.
  • Build “breaks” into your conversation. People with hearing loss expend extra effort listening, which can cause fatigue. Intentionally create breaks in your conversation.
  • Turn on captioning when watching TV or talking over video platforms such as Zoom.
  • Be patient. Understand that the person with hearing loss may be frustrated with any communication breakdowns. Communication is a two-way street, so do your part to ensure a successful interaction.

You may not remember to do all of these things all of the time, but you can vastly improve a person’s communication success by trying your best. For more information and tips, and to find a certified audiologist in your area, visit

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