Video calls and conferences have become a lot more common recently as more people rely on technology to stay connected with others.
Here are some suggestions to make your next video meeting more hearing accessible for yourself and others:
Video Call Etiquette
It's a good idea to discuss video call etiquette at the beginning of every meeting. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to what is expected of all participants.
Your etiquette tips can also be shared in writing prior to the call.
Some examples of video call etiquette that promotes good hearing accessibility include:
1. Mute Yourself When Not Speaking: All participants should mute their microphone when not speaking to minimize background noise.
2. Face The Camera: Ensure that others can see your face to allow for speech (lip) reading as needed.
3. Speak Loudly and Clearly: Speak loudly and clearly, without mumbling, to ensure that everyone will be able to understand what has been said.
4. Raise Your Hand or Signal to Speak: Raising your hand or having a mutually understood signal for when you would like to start speaking will avoid interruptions and help the call run smoothly.
Although this is something that can be often overlooked, try to locate yourself in a good area before the start of your call. Some good areas for video meetings are:
5. Places With As Little Background Noise As Possible: Attend your video call in a quiet area with as little background noise as possible. Your kitchen or living room are great places for this - just make sure that any televisions or radios are turned off.
6. Places With Good Internet Connection: Try to sit in a place where your device has good internet access to minimize the risk of disconnecting from the video calling service.
7. Ensure your face is well lit: Sit in front of a window for natural light or ensure that there is good lighting on your face. Good lighting, such as a lamp or bright overhead lighting, will ensure that others are able to see your expressions and can lip (speech) read as needed.
There are many technology options to help make video conferences more accessible. These can include:
8. Use Headphones With A Built-In Microphone: Headphones with a built in microphone will improve your sound quality and reduce the chance of echoing.
9. Use Video Calling Services With Automatic Captioning: Some video calling services, such as Google Meet, offer free automatic captioning.
10. Transcribing: If video conferencing services with automatic captioning is not available to you, there are apps and websites which are able to transcribe audio to text, such as Otter.ai or Live Transcribe, allowing you to follow along with the call by reading what has been said.
11. Explore Options for Connectivity: There are many options to improve connectivity, including using B listening devices, P, FM systems or devices that you can connect with your hearing aids or other hearing technology. Talk to your audiologist or a local hearing resource group about options available to you.
Learn To Speech (Lip) Read
12: Commonly Known as Speechreading "Lip reading" involves looking at a person’s lip and mouth movements, as well as their expression to interpret what is being said. Learning how to speech (lip) read is fun and can help you in all types of conversation - not just during video calls.
If you, or someone you know, struggle to follow along with video meetings, learning how to speech (lip) read is a great way to improve understanding on the call.
Read Our Lips is an online course to help you learn and practice lipreading skills at your own pace from the comfort of your own home. Video lessons help you learn.
Want to access your first lesson for free? Learn more here.