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Surviving a Virtual Meeting When You’re Hearing Impaired

Online or virtual meetings are becoming commonplace when working from home and online. Yet, we find ourselves lacking support for those that are hearing impaired. Let’s review ideas that can help others survive a virtual meeting when they are hearing impaired.

Add-Ons for Virtual Meetings

Purchase add-ons to your virtual meeting platform to make meetings easier for your hearing impaired employees. Such features may include:

Captioning & Speech to Text Software

Many virtual meeting platforms support captioning. They help those who are hearing impaired, but they are helpful for people with visual problems and those who are not native English speakers. Live captioning is often a paid service and only contains a few errors.

Try using the following features to create a better environment for providing captions and speech to text features:

 

  • Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) integration
  • Relay Service
  • Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART)
  • StreamText integration

Provide the Right Tools

Set up your employees for success and make access to tools easy, for example:

 

  • Ensure your employees can see the interpreter or captions clearly; you may wish to invest in dual monitors
  • Pay for high-speed internet access to avoid delays and lagging
  • Provide a copy of the presentation beforehand and provide notes or minutes following all virtual meetings to allow time to review items possibly missed

Suggestions for Virtual Meeting Hosts

  • Don’t cover your mouth or look down when you are speaking
  • Speak clearly and ask for confirmation that your employees or coworkers understand
  • Mute your audio when not using it and allow only one person to speak at a time
  • Provide employees with an agenda, essential materials, and documents in advance
  • Give your employees or coworkers advanced notice of the topics and discussion questions
  • Keep virtual meetings brief and to the point, utilise other forms of communication to be productive

Tips for the Hearing Impaired

  • Practice using any new software and features with coworkers
  • Sync your hearing aids to your computer or mobile device, as this can be very helpful in cutting out background noise
  • Use chat features to ask questions or to ask content to be repeated
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for extra aid in your virtual meetings

 

There are various platforms you can use for your virtual meetings. The most popular ones include Cisco Webex, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Skype. Ideally, try a couple of virtual meeting platforms to see which one best suits your team and your hearing impaired members. Contact us today for more tips and tricks to help you hear better.

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