Video conferencing tips for those with hearing loss
Posted by Tom Smith, Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist on March 03, 2021
Face masks are now an everyday accessory, “staying in” is the new “going out,” and you guessed it, video chatting is a necessary element of our social fabric and remote work. It’s all part of the new normal.
For those with hearing loss, these changes haven’t been as seamless. As you or a loved one may have experienced, masks muffle speech and inhibit lip reading cues, complicating simple interactions; and video conferencing audio is far from perfect depending on your Wi-Fi connection. Our Mask Mode feature helps resolve these challenges by creating a custom memory that boosts the frequency response in certain channels for Livio wearers in select technology tiers.
To help get you started, we’ve put together some tips to make the best of your next video chat, whether it’s with your boss, your close friends or family.
Clean your hearing aids: to prevent earwax and debris from clogging the microphones or receivers, wipe down your hearing aids every morning with a clean cloth. Clean them on a table or over a cushy surface to avoid damage if dropped while cleaning.
Minimize distractions: prepare your visual and auditory background and encourage attendees to do the same. Turn off the TV and pause your favorite playlist. If you live on a busy street, close your windows and set up shop in the quietest room in your home. A blank wall in a well-lit room works best to avoid visual distractions and promote lip reading.
Less is more: a lengthy guest list may seem like a good idea, but it can quickly turn chaotic. Most of our social lives are currently lacking. When we do virtually see friends and family, we’re excited to blurt out updates. It can be hard to follow as the conversation bounces from person to person. Most platforms enlarge or highlight the current speaker, but it isn’t foolproof. Set a maximum number of attendees. Whether that’s five or 15, friends and family will understand.
Raise your hand: Raising your hand before speaking may bring you back to your classroom days, but it’s a simple and effective way to moderate conversation. They say great minds think alike; when chatting with friends and family who you’ve known for (what feels like) forever, there’s bound to be “jinx” moments. Hand raising can eliminate the mumbling, confusing chatter and feelings of being left out that come from these moments.
Make technology your friend: Technology can be frustrating for the young and old alike. It always seems to work until there’s an audience. Starkey hearing aids are equipped with technology meant to make life easier. Livio, Livio AI and Livio Edge AI hearing aids can stream audio directly from your iPhone and select Android devices. If possible, opt to join the video chat from your smartphone instead of your computer for the clearest, most natural sound quality. Technology goes beyond your hearing aids. Consider the video platform you use. Seek out platforms with live captioning and chat features. Go one step further by researching which platforms’ user interfaces and features meet your needs, or the needs of a loved one, best. Don’t assume, ask! Loved ones will likely be happy you thought of them.
Lights, camera, action! This may seem obvious given the term “video conferencing” but encourage all attendees to turn on their cameras. Unless you’re a supermodel, most people are camera shy and would rather not have others see that they’re still in their PJs. However, the visual component is essential to restore lip reading, facial expressions, and hand movements that enhance communication for everyone, especially the hard of hearing.