Working from home has been a learning experience even for those without hearing loss. Spotty wifi connections and feeling generally disconnected from our coworkers has taught all of us to make some adjustments in how we work remotely.
But those with hearing loss have the added hurdle of understanding what is being said on work calls. Thanks to modern technology, there are numerous accommodations and work-arounds that can be made to make your virtual meetings less stressful and more productive.
- Consider Bluetooth Hearing Aids
Ask a certified audiologist if you can be fitted for hearing aids that will connect via Bluetooth directly to whatever device you will be using for virtual meetings. This will enable you to listen to the sound coming out of your laptop or smartphone without removing your hearing aids.
- Use Earbuds Or Headphones
Most modern earbuds and headphones come with noise-cancelling technology that will make it easier for you to filter out background noise. With less background noise to distract you, you can more clearly hear the dialogue during a meeting.
- Let Your Employer Know Your Needs
If you have been struggling to hear or understand others during your work meetings, let your employer know so that they can make accommodations. Employers are legally required to make reasonable accommodations for the deaf and hard of hearing, including fully remote workers. In addition, it’s easy to set some basic rules for virtual meetings that make it easier for the hearing-impaired to fully participate. For example:
- Use well-lit video to enable everyone on the call to rely on visual cues
- Have everyone introduce themselves, giving you time to adjust your hearing aids
- Make sure everyone waits their turn to speak
- Record the meeting so you can review parts you may have missed
- Remind people on the call to keep their face unobstructed
- Tell anyone who isn’t speaking to mute themselves to avoid unnecessary background noise
- Encourage screen-sharing so you can read important information, rather than listening for it
- Use A Portable Amplifier
A portable amplifier is a type of assisted listening device designed to not only increase volume, but improve clarity of speech. These lightweight devices can travel with you, making it handy if you are on the go. Certain portable amplifiers are compatible with hearing aids.
- Use A Video Platform That’s Hard-of-Hearing Friendly
There are plenty of video platforms to choose from beyond Zoom, and some of them are more accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing than others. Have your employer or meeting host review this grid of video conferencing platforms created by consumer advocacy organizations. The grid details which accessibility features are contained on different platforms, so you can pick the best one for your needs.
Whether you’re in need of an assistive listening device or a remote hearing aid adjustment, the certified audiologists at Francis Audiology are here for you. Our dedicated team is ready to assist you with all of your hearing health needs. Call or book an appointment online today for an evaluation.