Trying to have a conversation on the phone with someone with a hearing loss can be frustrating. It can be equally frustrating for the individual with the hearing loss.

The professionals at Relay Iowa and Telecommunications Access Iowa suggest that you speak clearly on the phone, using your normal voice. Shouting can distort sounds and make it harder to understand. Try changing tones (speak with a higher or lower voice).

When on the phone, eliminate background noise. Turn off the TV and radio, and try not to call from a noisy environment. Encourage the person on the other end to do the same.

There are specialized phones and telecommunication devices, such as amplified phones, captioned phones, and accessories that amplify the ring and voices. The cost of these may be covered by Telecommunications Access Iowa, which has vouchers to help pay for this equipment.

The Iowa Utilities Board is the government agency that works with local phone companies. They administer Relay Iowa and Telecommunications Access Iowa to help hearing impaired residents. For more information, visit and You may also contact the Health Navigation program of Dallas County Public Health at 515-993-3750.