Working with others in an office has always been a bit of a challenge for those with hearing loss. But through years of hard work, most have learned how to adapt to an environment built for their fully hearing capable colleagues.
However, we are now living in a new era of video conferences instead of in-person meetings and virtual team events instead of traditional happy hours. With most workplaces going digital, those with hearing loss face a whole new set of challenges.
Below is a breakdown of the problems faced by those with hearing loss as well as solutions to make remote working easier for you.
Video Calls Fails
Technology does not always work, and with a strain on our at-home internet connections, video calls have a tendency to freeze. While the video portion may be stuck, the audio usually will continue. Those without hearing loss won’t miss a beat, as they can easily follow the conversation. But it is more challenging for those with hearing loss who rely on lip-reading.
In addition, if the video platform crashes, it may seem like an easily solution to switch the meeting over to a phone call. But those with hearing loss may have a harder time keeping up with the conversation when they cannot see their coworkers speaking.
Everyone Talks at Once
Unlike a traditional in-person meeting, there is a lag time when it comes to video calls. Because of this, it is common for multiple people to start talking at once, often not even realizing they are talking over someone else. It is incredibly hard for someone with hearing loss to focus on what a specific person is saying with the added background noise.
People Walk Away from the Computer
Wireless headphones allow users to walk away from their computers while still being part of the meeting. Taking away the visual cue makes understanding what someone is saying difficult for someone with hearing loss.
Tips for a Successful Video Call
If someone on your team is hard of hearing or if you simply want to make sure your virtual meetings are understood by all, follow the below tips.
- Pick a platform that offers closed captioning
- Allow only one person to speak at a time
- Assign someone to keep an eye on the agenda and keep the meeting on track
- Remind participants to look into the camera when speaking
- Send follow-up emails with a summary of important points and decisions made during the call
This new reality is a learning experience for all of us. Make sure to speak up and let others know what you need to be most productive. To learn more about working remotely with hearing loss, contact the experts at SW Idaho ENT today.