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Audio Impairment


An audio impairment is a person’s reduced ability to hear sounds, whether due to reduced sensitivity or reduced clarity, particularly as it applies to human speech.

See also

External resources

An audio impairment tends to mean that a person cannot understand human speech as well as someone who does not have an audio impairment. Audio impairments can mean reduced sensitivity to sound, like turning down the volume on everything that person hears, or reduced clarity, like garbling everything that person hears.

Audio impairments as they apply to websites are addressed by Section 508 1194.22, 1194.23, and 1194.24. To summarize, any multimedia with an audio component should include readily accessible closed captioning so that someone with an audio impairment is able to understand the audio component without having to hear it. Also, your website should never rely solely on an audio component to convey necessary or instructive information.


Disabilities are not mutually exclusive. Someone with an audio impairment may also have cognitive, mobility, and visual impairments.

  • Include closed captioning for videos.
  • Include closed captioning or transcripts for podcasts.
  • Include a visual component when getting the user’s attention.