This pandemic has been difficult for many people, including those with hearing loss. Everyone has become even more isolated. For the hard of hearing population there are struggles in communicating with others due to wearing facemasks, or captions that are unavailable in video conferencing. These changes and struggles have provided others, who do not regularly experience hearing loss, with an awareness of these issues.
Fortunately, there has been more attention given to the various communication needs of people who have hearing loss, particularly in hospital settings. Tech companies are creating new options to help with communication.
Free Auto Captioning in Video Conferencing Platforms
On Google Meet and Microsoft Teams, free auto-captions are available on all video calls that are made through their platforms. Webex also announced that they will be doing a trial of auto captions. Providing accurate auto captions is not only practical for the stability of a business, it’s helpful for everyone no matter how good or bad their hearing abilities are. It’s also the honorable thing to provide for employees so that the calls can be more inclusive.
Not only do people who experience hearing loss benefit from these captions, but people whose second language is English can also find the auto-captions helpful.
New Apps for the Hard of Hearing are Quickly Becoming Available
Tech companies have been dashing to provide new products by increasing the need for apps that make working and communicating remotely easier. One of the top apps is Chatable. This app, along with Ear Machine and Google’s Sound Amplifier gives the user sound amplification through their headphones that are connected to your smartphone.
Each of these sound amplifier apps have been proven to be beneficial when someone is speaking with a mask on. Ear Machine and Google’s Sound Amplifier are free apps. Chatable has a version that is free. To get the most out of it, including the highest levels of background noise blockage, there is a $12.99 charge per month.
It’s heartwarming to see the hearing loss community come together at this time to guide, share information, support one another and advocate for your needs. Collectively, you have all made an impact to help each other navigate through this crisis a little easier.
If you, or a loved one, are in need of hearing aids or an assistive listening device, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require new hearing aid fittings, repairs and re-fittings. We ask that you please wait in your car, while wearing your mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. We will come to your car to get them. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.