A lot has changed in our world since 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread. Jobs that were commonly done from an office setting were suddenly being done remotely. This means that for many of us, we are now logging into our computers for office meetings, which used to be held in person. There are plenty of benefits to working from home. You can avoid the commute, save on gas, and have your lunch break in your kitchen.
However, for those of us with hearing loss, video conferencing can pose some obstacles. It can be harder to hear in person and stay alert and connected during a virtual meeting. Even if you do use hearing aids, it’s all too easy to become distracted and focus on something else when communication starts to become a constant challenge, which can affect performance at work and your standing with co-workers and employers. However, with some simple aids, you can participate at work with confidence and take advantage of the benefits that technology offers.
Maximize Audio Quality
It can be difficult for anyone to hear when there is a lot of other noise going on. For those with hearing loss, this challenge is amplified. Noise can be difficult to separate from the speech you want to hear. The sound reduction can cause the brain to struggle to separate speech from the background noise or fill in the blanks of those missed sounds. This can lead to cognitive fatigue due to the strain of “understand” all day. Whenever possible it’s important to limit background noise. Turn off noisy fans or air conditioners and work away from loud windows where traffic or the sound of lawnmowers and leaf blowers are creating more noise than you would suspect. Try to find the quietest place in your home for your important work meetings.
Hang curtains over windows and place area rugs to absorb sound and if you can’t reduce the sound enough for various reasons, there is technology to help you. Many enjoy Bluetooth technology in their hearing aids to send sound wirelessly from your video call directly to your ears along with the audio modifications of your hearing aid programming. If you aren’t using hearing aids you can still benefit from headphones. Many offer noise-canceling technology now which detects background noise and sends an inverted signal, actively canceling the sound. This can allow you to shift your complete focus toward your work for the day.
Some benefits video conferencing offers which you can’t take advancge of in-person meetings. Video captioning acts as live closed captioning, available on many video platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. This can allow you to read along as people speak, making it easy to stay informed on what people are saying throughout the meeting. Although live captions don’t always precisely capture what is said, they do give important context where it is missing.
Modify The Video Call Environment
Talk to your co-workers about your hearing loss and let them know the best way to communicate. With clear communication ahead of time they can know the best way to make it easier for you or the others in the group to hear and follow along without issue. We all are culprits for speaking too fast or mumbling sometimes. We may not even be aware we are doing it. However, this is incredibly challenging to follow when you have hearing loss. As your co-workers speak at an even pace and enunciate.
As a hearing-impaired person, you may already know that visual cues are a great help for aiding in hearing. Many rely on lip reading, facial expression, and body language you’re your co-workers to make sure their faces are well lit and that you have a clear view of their shoulders and faces to take advantage of these visual aids.
Hearing Loss Treatment
Most importantly, if you struggle with hearing loss and you haven’t treated it, today could be the day you act. Addressing hearing loss can help you to be alert at home and work. Contact us today to schedule a hearing exam and take control of your professional future.