Everything has changed this year and we have all had to adapt. We have all had to minimize the amount of activities we do in person like going to work, eating at restaurants, and taking vacations. Fortunately, we do not have to minimize the holiday spirit. Technology like Facetime, Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and other video call services have allowed us to be with our family and friends without actually being there in person. Video calling sometimes is difficult for people with hearing loss due to the internet connection, background noise, or not knowing how to utilize the video calling service. One major issue with hearing during the holiday is that video calls cause visual cues are taken away from the listener. Individuals with hearing loss rely heavily on visual cues, a study showed “reading cues can increase understanding of speech up to 20 percent, even for someone who’s had no formal training in lipreading” (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, ASHA). Celebrating the holidays throughout video calling, is not the long term goal, but is an option for now. Let’s go through some tips that can help you hear during the holidays and make video calling during the holidays enjoyable for all!
- Location, Location, Location: When preparing for your video call, find an area with good lighting, internet connection, and minimal noise in the background. This ideal location will make sure everything on your end is set up for your and the listeners best needs.
- Turn The Camera On: Turning on your camera and asking the other individuals on the video call to turn on their cameras will allow facial expressions to be seen. Facial expression give insight to the tone of the conversation. Cameras being turned on also allows individuals to lipread. When cameras are turned off, it interrupts the flow of conversation.
- Introduce Yourself: When the video call starts, it would be a good idea to have everyone introduce themselves and make sure their name is visible on the screen. This allows everyone on the video call to be familiar with everyone and put names, faces, and voices together.
- Take Turns Speaking: No one likes when someone speaks over them, so let’s not do that over video calls. If your video call service allows you to mute your microphone, you should mute yourself while someone else is talking. This makes sure that you and none of your background noise is heard. When you are ready to speak, you can unmute yourself. Muting yourself or waiting for a pause in conversation will allow everyone to understand the conversation.
The holidays do look different this year, but do not let that limit your holiday spirit. Use these tips to help you improve your hearing during the holidays and enjoy communication with your family and friends over video calling. If you or someone you know are having hearing difficulties, call your local hearing care professional or audiologist!