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Even without hearing loss, conversations require a lot of focus, energy, and patience. For people with hearing loss or other hearing impairments, a noisy environment or friends who speak too quickly can make communication extra challenging. Below are some methods that can help facilitate communication when someone has hearing loss, whether that person is you—or a loved one, friend, or coworker.

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Be patient. 

Do not rush conversations. Allow others time to listen and comprehend what is being said. Avoid becoming frustrated. Do your best to be patient and understanding of the communication challenges associated with hearing loss.

Speak clearly. 

Avoid mumbling. Enunciate your speech, and speak in a normal tone. Avoid shouting, as increased volume may distort sounds. Instead, speak at a normal, clear volume. Use gestures if helpful. 

Converse directly. 

When possible, speak face-to-face and close to one another. In group settings, aim to make all faces visible and avoid speaking over each other. Avoid talking behind someone, or speaking to them from another room. In all cases, it is best to speak directly to those with hearing loss. Call their name to gather their attention before speaking.

Minimize background noise.

Recognize that hearing loss can make it difficult to distinguish and prioritize sound. Seek settings with little background noise or acknowledge the difficulty that background noise creates for those with hearing loss.

Look for listening cues. 

Learn to recognize visual cues for confusion or understanding. If someone appears confused or as if they are having difficulty deciphering speech, find a tactful way to ask if they need clarification or if they understand.

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