If you have hearing loss, the workplace is already difficult, though remote work has introduced a new set of challenges for the hearing impaired.
Many people in the hearing loss community find virtual meetings more challenging as they lack the body language signals and audio quality of a live meeting.
However, there are ways to adapt to virtual meetings. With these tips, you may find that virtual meetings are your preferred method of communication.
Connect Your Hearing Aids Via Bluetooth
Your first step to hearing better is to ensure you connect your hearing aids to the meeting software through Bluetooth. While not every hearing aid offers Bluetooth, it is becoming more common in modern hearing aid models.
To connect your hearing aids to Zoom or any other video conferencing software, iPhone and iPad users simply have to connect Bluetooth to their device. For android users, connect to ConnectClip, and you will be able to stream.
Similarly, if you are using a laptop, all you have to do is connect your laptop to Bluetooth, and it will stream automatically.
Another great way to improve hearing during virtual meetings is to turn on the captions.
In Zoom, you can go to the navigation panel and click “Settings.” From there, click the Meeting tab and verify that closed captions are enabled. For a full guide or troubleshooting, you can check out their guide to captions.
If you are in Google Meet, join the meeting and then look at the bottom of your screen. You will see that there is an option to turn on captions.
While not all video conferencing software options offer captions, a large majority do, so take advantage of it.
An estimated 55 percent of overall comprehension comes from body language, and those with hearing loss tend to rely on it even more heavily.
Therefore, be sure to ask your team members to do a video call. This will give you more body language cues and help improve your comprehension of the meeting.
You can also request speakers to face the camera as they speak to enable you to read their lips.
Record The Meeting
Finally, be sure to record the meeting so that you can refer back to it in the future if necessary. You can also put the meeting recording in a tool like Temi, which will download a transcription of the meeting and make it easier to go back and read.
On Zoom, you have to be the host of the meeting to record, so either request to be made the host or ask the host to record it for you.
Do not be afraid to let your employer know that you might have trouble hearing. By communicating with them ahead of time, they can make adjustments to ensure that the meeting runs smoothly for everyone and that you do not miss any critical details.
If you do not have hearing aids yet and think you could benefit from them, contact our staff today or take our virtual hearing test.
About the Author: Pauline Dinnauer is the VP of Audiological Care at Connect Hearing, which provides industry-leading hearing loss, hearing testing, and hearing aid consultation across the US.