The 5 Worst Ways To Respond If Someone With Hearing Loss Talks To You

Table of Contents


If you’re deaf or have hearing loss, it can be frustrating to interact with people who don’t know how to communicate with you. Unfortunately, there are many different ways that people respond in these situations. Here are some of the worst responses I’ve seen and why they’re so bad:

Talk louder

  • Talk louder.
  • Talk slower.
  • Use more words to explain yourself.

Ignore them

If you see a person with hearing loss, don’t ignore them. Don’t pretend that they’re not there and don’t pretend to not notice them. Don’t pretend that it’s not a big deal, and don’t pretend that you didn’t hear what they said. If someone has a hearing loss, they need your help!

Ask “What?” multiple times

If you’re the person with hearing loss, this can be a very frustrating and embarrassing experience. It’s like trying to teach someone how to speak Spanish, only to have them respond by asking “What?” multiple times.

It’s also frustrating for the person speaking. They might think they’re saying something clear and concise but still have no idea whether or not it was understood because of their own speech impediment (e.g., a lisp) or because of your deafness/hard-of-hearingness.


  • You can’t yell.

It may be hard to believe, but yelling at someone who is deaf doesn’t help them hear you any better. It only makes it harder for the deaf person to understand what you’re saying, and it also makes it more difficult for a hearing person to understand what you’re saying if they’re trying to follow along in a conversation with both of you. In fact, depending on where you are (in a crowd or near speakers), even if the deaf person has their hearing aids turned up all the way, yelling might still be impossible for them to hear over everything else that’s going on around them! Yelling can also get exhausting really quickly — especially if it’s happening while you’re trying not

  • when there’s noise everywhere else too (like during rush hour).

Say “Never mind”

If what the person with hearing loss is saying isn’t relevant to you, or if you’re not interested, don’t feel like talking, or don’t have time, just say so—don’t try to “fix” them. For example:

  • If it’s not your thing: “I’m sorry but I’m really busy right now.”
  • If you don’t understand: “I’m sorry but I didn’t quite understand what you were saying.”
  • If they’re bothering you: “I’m sorry but this isn’t really all that interesting to me.”

If you are deaf or have hearing loss and someone talks to you, here are some ways to respond.

If you are deaf or have hearing loss and someone talks to you, here are some ways to respond.

  • Use sign language: If the person who is talking is in your field of vision, use American Sign Language (ASL) gestures when possible.
  • Get closer: If it’s not possible to use ASL, try getting as close as possible without being rude or making the other person uncomfortable.
  • Get away from other noises: Try turning off any loud noises around you—such as TVs and radios—to give yourself a better chance of understanding what this person is saying.
  • Face them directly: Turn toward them so that they can see your face clearly while they speak and make eye contact when they do so themselves; this will help them know that they have your attention and encourage them to continue speaking with confidence that their message was received correctly by all parties involved in the conversation at hand!
  • Use an aid if needed: If these tips don’t work for whatever reason (for example because there’s too much background noise), ask if one might be available for rent nearby before giving up hope entirely! This way everyone benefits as each party involved has access easily accessible information about what’s going on around town without having any trouble hearing anything at all–especially important when going outside camping!


If you are deaf or have hearing loss, it can be frustrating when people speak to you without realizing they need to adjust their speech. The good news is that there are some simple ways to communicate better with the hearing impaired. By following these tips, we hope that everyone will feel more comfortable communicating in any situation!