Many changes have occurred within the past weeks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some have been lucky enough to work remotely from home. There are a set of unique challenges for the hard of hearing when it comes to creating a home office. This is particularly true when video conferencing becomes a primary tool at your job. In addition to adapting to a new way of working, in some cases the technology that you need to use may not be as accommodating as you need it to be. It can feel overwhelming, especially with the added social isolation and stress.
Here are 9 tips for working virtually if you or your co-workers are hard of hearing:
1. Make sure that everyone that you are video conferencing has a headset and microphone to enhance the sound quality. If you use Zoom, there is a closed caption feature that can be enabled by the person who sets up the video conference. Google Meet also features a caption setting.
2. Set your microphone to the mute setting if you are not speaking, and to reduce background noises.
3. Take time to do a soundcheck before the meeting begins by having each person speak or introduce themselves. This will allow those with hearing loss to make sure they can hear everyone and make adjustments if necessary.
4. Use the video feature. Having visual cues helps those with hearing loss follow along with the conversation.
5. Examine the lighting. It is best to have some light shining in front of you instead of behind you. Back lighting makes it difficult to see people’s faces and mouths. Some people who are hard of hearing depend on lip-reading to help them understand what is being said.
6. Do not cover your mouth. Do your best to keep your hair, hands, and clothes away from your mouth and face. Speak loud and clear.
7. Wait until it is your turn to speak. Having multiple people talking over one another makes it difficult for someone who is hard of hearing to follow along with the conversation.
8. Share your screen with everyone when presenting documents.
9. Record your meeting for later reference. This will be helpful for anyone who may have missed portions of the meeting. The videos can be reviewed later and at a slower speed, if necessary.
Here are 3 tips for those with hearing loss:
1. Sync up your hearing aids. Ask your hearing instrument specialist if your hearing aids can connect via Bluetooth directly to the device that is used in your video conferences.
2. Use earbuds or headphones. There are many headphones that have a noise-canceling feature to reduce background noises, which can make it easier to hear discussions that are made during the meeting.
3. Always speak up and advocate for yourself if you cannot hear. Your employer may not be aware that you are having a problem. It’s important to speak up and let your employer know that you have difficulty hearing in case you miss vital information, assignments, updates, or instructions that require your participation or feedback.
Hearing loss and communication
Poor communication that is experienced by those with hearing loss can be improved with properly adjusted and fitted hearing aids.
Pure Sound will only be open by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require repairs, re-fittings and new hearing aid fittings. If you are having any problems with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.