Video conferences have become a normal way of communication in recent months. Between social distancing and stay at home mandats, video conferences were one of the best ways for many of us to stay in touch.
Video conferences can be a great way to simulate a face to face meeting. For people with hearing loss, video conferences can be challenging. We’ve put together these tips for hearing friendly video conferences to keep you connected and communicating.
Tips for Hearing Friendly Video Conferences
To ensure a successful video conference, there are a few things to think about. Firstly, your current setup. Next is your style of communication. Try these tips:
Check Your Internet Connection
Video conferences can eat up a lot of bandwidth. To ensure smooth video playback, you’ll want a good internet connection. It’s also worth ensuring that you’re not downloading anything at the same time you’re trying to have your video conference.
Choose Your Lighting
Make sure you’re sitting in a well-lit space to increase visibility of your face. Try to avoid backlighting, that could for example be created by light shining through a window behind you. Sit close to your camera. You want to ensure the top of your head to your elbows are visible on camera.
Face The Camera
Remember to face the camera when you are speaking. This makes it much easier for people with a hearing impairment to follow your visual cues and lip read.
Reduce Background Noise
If you’re not speaking, it’s recommended that you mute your microphone. It’s quite astounding how much background noise microphones can pick up. Avoid unnecessary background noise by keeping yourself on mute if you’re not speaking. This is especially important for large group calls!
Use Appropriate Equipment
Use a good quality microphone and headset. You may even use a headset / microphone combination. Make sure your equipment can pick up your voice at a normal level. Equally, you should be able to clearly hear your fellow participants through your earbuds.
Be Mindful Of Others
When there are a group of people in a video conference, it’s possible to have multiple people speaking at once. This can end up a noisy mess! Try to ensure that only one person is speaking at any one time. If needed, say your name before you begin speaking.
Stick to the meeting agenda (where relevant). It is easier for people with hearing loss to follow along with the conversation. Ad hoc side-conversations can be much more difficult to follow. This can potentially result in mis-communication.
Wear Hearing Aids and Check Your Hearing Aid’s Connectivity
If you wear hearing aid devices, wear them! Give yourself the best chance to hear what is being said! Are your hearing aids bluetooth compatible? Using the connectivity features on your hearing aids can help you ‘plug in’ to the conversation. If you have older hearing aids or non-hearing aid devices, this might be the right time to consider upgrading to a more modern device that can stream sound from your phone, tablet or laptop to your hearing aids.
Check Out Video Captions
Take advantage of the features that are available for the video conferencing platform you’re using. Zoom for example offers automatic video captions. Skype and Google Meet (to name a few) also offer video captioning functionality.
Remember, teamwork makes the dream work. Share these tips for hearing friendly video conferences with the other participants. Successful communication is a two-way street.
Have a Question? Need Help? Contact Us Today!
If you’d like to discuss this further, the hearing specialists at HearingLife (formerly Family Audiology) would be happy to help. Call us on (607) 323-4061 or click here to request an appointment online.