Telecommuting has become the norm for many people across the U.S. and the world. While this adjustment has been problematic for many, people with hearing loss are having an especially difficult time adjusting. This is because many tools used for online communication, especially video calls, are more difficult when you cannot hear well. Below is a guide for people with hearing loss to have more successful virtual meetings, as well as tips for people hosting virtual meetings to help improve communication.
If You Have Hearing Loss
- Sync your hearing aids. If you have Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids, sync them to your laptop, tablet or whatever device you’re using to telecommute. When audio is sent directly to your hearing aids, you’ll have an easier time following the conversation.
- Use noise-cancelling headphones. If you don’t have hearing aids with Bluetooth connectivity, noise-cancelling headphones are a good option. They block background noises so you don’t have to crank up the volume, and provide clear sound quality that is easy to understand.
- Advocate for Yourself. If your communication needs are not being met, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for accommodations. During this time of transition, it’s important that your company knows how to support their employees as much as possible.
If You Host Virtual Meetings
- Make introductions. This gives your employees/colleagues time to adjust their sound settings before getting to the important content of the meeting. If you can’t introduce everyone on the call, at least introduce the main speakers.
- Use video. People with hearing loss often rely on visual cues like lip reading for communication, so ask people to keep their cameras turned on. While bandwidth issues may not allow all attendees to have their cameras on, ask at least the main speakers, or whoever has the floor, to keep their cameras on.
- Wear a headset. Using the built-in mic on your laptop will not provide adequate sound quality in most cases. Instead, wear a headset or headphones with a built-in microphone. This will limit background noise and provide better sound quality.
- Use mute when not speaking. Ask people who are not speaking to keep their mics muted. This will limit background noise and make the speaker more audible.
For more communication tips or to schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist, call Topeka ENT today.