This year’s holiday season looks a lot different than years past. While it is a bummer to not be able to celebrate the holidays and follow your usual traditions, it doesn’t mean you can’t still have a great time with family and friends. Virtual celebrations will take place across the world, and while this might not be an ideal option for people with hearing loss, there are strategies to ensure it runs smoothly.
Follow our tips below.
Choose the Right Platform and Settings
For many schools and businesses, Zoom has been the meeting platform of choice, meaning many of your family members may already have accounts and know how to use it. However, Zoom is not ideal for people with hearing loss, as it does not provide automatic captions. Google Meet is a superior option, as it provides free ASR captions on every call.
We recommend using the speaker mode when visiting with loved ones rather than the gallery mode. Gallery mode does allow you to see everyone at once; however, speaker mode shows the person talking full-screen, making it easier to detect and follow visual cues. The screen will automatically change when another speaker takes over.
Use Supplementary Technology
Even if your family chooses not to use the preferred platform, you can still make sure you don’t miss a word. Download a speech-to-text app like Live Transcribe (Android only) or Otter.ai. Be sure to set your phone close to the speaker so the sound is delivered as directly as possible. Using an external microphone can also help improve the accuracy of the captions.
If your hearing aids are Bluetooth-enabled, you can connect them to your computer. This way, sound from your call will be delivered directly to your ears like a headset. If your hearing aids don’t have Bluetooth capabilities, you can use noise-canceling headphones for a similar effect.
If this is your family’s first virtual celebration, be sure to communicate expectations in advance. Remind your loved ones to…
- Keep their videos on and sit in a well-lit area
- Wait their turn to speak so there are not multiple people talking at once
- Stay muted until it’s their turn
For more communication tips or to schedule an appointment, call Topeka ENT today.