During the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us, including those with hearing loss, are now working, attending school, and otherwise spending the majority of free time “quarantined” at home. Because of this, video meetings and video calls are more popular than ever, and for people with hearing loss, it can offer a new challenge.
FACT: More Than 37 Million American Adults Have Some Degree of Hearing Loss (Source)
Attending a video conference with hearing loss is one thing, but as a video meeting organizer, you need to also be mindful of the unique communication accommodations required for people with hearing loss. When video conferencing, it’s important to make sure that everyone has a good visual of each other. Fast internet connection and good video & sound quality helps a lot as well.
Here are a few other simple tips to make virtual conferencing easier for those with hearing impairments:
- Let everyone know that you are hearing impaired.
- Whenever possible, try to provide the host and the other attendees with helpful tips for communicating more effectively with you.
- Try to ensure there is no background noise.
- Wear headphones to improve sound quality and avoid having an echo.
- Test drive the various communication tools that are available to see which are more “hearing loss friendly.”.
- Use closed-captioning tools such as Live Transcribe, Otter Voice Meeting Notes, Speech Notes, Voice Notebook and e-Dictate, or use a video conferencing platform that offers instant or live closed captioning which can be easily enabled on the most commonly used video conferencing systems.
- Try to make sure that all participants have good lighting so that everyone can be seen clearly because facial expressions, body language, and gestures can increase comprehension.
- If possible, record the video meeting to allow participants to revisit the conversation for clarity later.
- As a video meeting host or organizer, provide a written follow up when appropriate.
- If you are a student with hearing loss, there are a number of resources available. Visit successforkidswithhearingloss.com for more information.
Video Conferencing with Hearing Aids
If you wear hearing aids, look into whether they can be paired to your computer or mobile device via Bluetooth to enhance sound quality. This will help in minimizing all background noise and making communication clearer and easier.
At Kenwood Hearing Center, we hope that these tips will help you communicate easier when video conferencing. If you have any questions, or would like to speak with one of our experienced hearing care professionals, contact us via our website, and we’ll be in touch as soon as we can invite you in for an appointment.