If you’re like millions of other Americans who have transitioned to either working full-time or part-time from home, you’ve certainly experienced an increase in virtual meetings. If you have hearing loss, this may present some unique challenges. The good news is that there are many ways to make it easier to hear and participate in virtual meetings.
Use Your Hearing Aids
The best way to improve your hearing in any environment is to use your hearing aids. If your hearing loss is currently untreated, your first step is to schedule a hearing test and get fitted with a custom pair of hearing aids.
If you already have a pair, using them in virtual meetings can greatly improve your ability to follow what is being said. Many modern hearing aids can connect to your computer, smartphone or whatever device you have your meetings on. This allows your hearing aids to double as a pair of wireless earbuds and steam audio directly from the meeting into your ears, greatly improving sound quality.
Consider Noise Cancelling Headphones
You can also use noise-canceling headphones to make virtual meetings easier to hear. They can help minimize background noise and help you focus better on the conversations happening during your meeting. If you don’t already have a pair, consider stopping by an electronics store the next time you’re shopping at Willowbrook Mall to see what pair might work best for you.
Practice Good Virtual Communication Strategies
In addition to having the right equipment, you can practice good communication strategies and employ the following tips recommended by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association to make virtual meetings easier if you or a coworker have hearing loss. Strategies include:
- Staying on mute unless you are speaking
- Make time for introductions, so people with hearing loss have time to adjust their volume settings if needed.
- Encourage anyone speaking to have their video on and to face the camera. Visual cues, like being able to lipread, make it easier to understand what is being said.
- Speak one at a time to avoid crosstalk
- Enable automated captions. Platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have captioning tools that use speech-to-text technology so everyone can follow along.
- Record the meeting and make it available to all participants to allow people to go back and rewatch to see if there was anything they missed.
If you’re concerned that hearing loss is making it harder to follow virtual or in-person meetings, call Hearing Systems today to schedule an appointment for a hearing test.