Video calls with your hearing aids

Tips for video calls if you wear hearing aids

Video calls have become an indispensable aspect of our everyday routines, particularly at work. This practical tool, especially prevalent since the pandemic, has nearly replaced the need for traditional face-to-face meetings. Now, let's explore how to effectively use your hearing aids to enhance your video call experience.

How to connect hearing aids to computers

Streamlining meetings with your hearing aids is easy! Start by linking your PC to the hearing aids—it's a speedy and super convenient process. Now, you can hop on video calls using your hearing aids just like regular headphones. Enjoy the comfort and freedom without the hassle of extra accessories!

  1. Prepare the devices: make sure Bluetooth is on for both your hearing aids and PC. Check your PC settings; for the hearing aids, just restart them and put them near your computer.
  2. Find the hearing aids on your PC: look for your hearing aids in the computer's Bluetooth settings. They'll pop up once they're ready to connect.
  3. Connect: select your hearing aids from the list of devices. Wait a few seconds; you'll hear a beep or tone when the connection is set.

The steps might vary a bit based on your hearing aid's type and model, but your user manual has all the details. For extra help, a quick online search can provide more information.

How to make meetings more deaf inclusive

If you face challenges with hearing or use hearing aids, hopping on a video call might feel a bit overwhelming. However,  with a few helpful tips, you can get ready and dive into the meeting with confidence, focusing on what you want to achieve. Let's explore how to make video calls more accessible for those wearing hearing aids or dealing with hearing difficulties.

Set a schedule for team meetings

Start by preparing in advance for meetings. When you send out email invitations and the connection link, include the meeting agenda. This isn't just a good habit for making information clear and accessible—it's crucial to set the stage for what topics will be covered. Having an agenda allows everyone to follow the meeting's flow, especially during tough discussions, and ensures that all participants understand the objectives right from the beginning.

Allow time for conclusions and next steps

Although the agenda guides the meeting and breaks it down into points, after each item, it's important to highlight key concepts—summarising what was discussed and clearing up any confusion. This helps check if the goals were met. Also, briefly introducing the next steps helps everyone follow the meeting better, making it more organised and effective.

Share final notes from the meeting

Once the meeting is done, there's still work to do for those with hearing impairment. After the meeting, it's crucial to send follow-up notes in order to recap important points and outline the next steps. These final notes not only keep everyone on the same page, but save time for everyone involved.

Use conference rooms for talks with your group

Group chats offer a helpful solution to prevent crucial information from being overlooked. They serve as a platform to share key points and seek clarifications, providing an accessible way for individuals with hearing impairments or wearing hearing aids to actively participate in the meeting.

Here are some ways you can make the most of group chats:

  1. Use the chat for questions or clarifications during the meeting. This ensures that everyone can stay on the same page.
  2. Share summaries of meeting points in real-time. This is especially useful as agenda items conclude, helping everyone keep track of the main topics discussed.
  3. Foster a more connected and flexible team environment. Group chats facilitate seamless communication and ensures that everyone can actively engage.

Switch on your cameras

Nowadays, in video calls, people often choose not to activate their cameras. However, it is important to keep in mind that showing your face in a conversation or meeting holds significant importance. It enriches the overall experience beyond just hearing a voice, aiding individuals with hearing conditions. By turning on the camera, we introduce crucial communication elements such as smiles, movements, and gestures. Therefore, it's encouraged to reveal ourselves when speaking, even if the video quality isn't optimal.
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Video calls with Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, WhatsApp

Several platforms cater to video calls, and nearly all of them include specialised features designed to accommodate individuals with hearing impairments. These features are thoughtfully integrated to enhance accessibility, making communication more inclusive and effective. From customisable captions to advanced audio settings, these platforms prioritise creating an inclusive virtual environment that ensures everyone can participate fully in the conversation.

Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams

Skype, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams are among the top video call platforms currently being used, particularly for business video calls. These platforms offer a range of features beyond just turning on your camera and having an integrated chat. They also support real-time subtitles, a valuable feature applicable to both small team meetings and larger group discussions. Following the video call, users can also access recorded sessions and detailed transcripts capturing the conversation.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a widely favored choice for more laid-back and informal video calls. It serves as a convenient platform for casual conversations among friends, family, or colleagues. This platform can also seamlessly integrate with hearing aids through Bluetooth connectivity. This feature makes it easy for individuals with hearing aids to engage in video calls using their smartphone.

Apple and Face Time

Apple goes above and beyond in ensuring accessibility for individuals with hearing impairments, seamlessly integrating a suite of features across its entire product line, including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. This inclusive package includes:

  • Made for iPhone Hearing Aids: improve phone call clarity by easily pairing your hearing aid with your iPhone.
  • FaceTime Video Calls: enjoy video calls across all iOS devices, facilitating communication with other iOS users.
  • Live Listening: transform your Apple devices into a remote microphone, broadcasting ambient audio directly to Made for iPhone hearing aids or AirPods.
  • Visual Alerts: stay informed with LED flash notifications, ensuring you don't miss important alerts, even when your phone is locked.
  • RTT (Real-Time Text) Calls: transmit messages instantly during calls for seamless real-time communication.
  • Subtitles: access subtitles for select iTunes video content, enhancing the viewing experience.
  • Earphone Settings: personalise audio settings for your headphones or earbuds, adjusting the hearing frequency to meet your specific needs.

Utilising technology in communication

Hearing aids are constantly evolving to be more high-performance and tailored to individual needs. Amplifon, in particular, is a leader in improving the lives of those with hearing impairments. Their ampli-connect line lets you hear directly from the hearing aid using a simple app. To get started, visit an Amplifon center for a hearing test and find the best solution for you.

An audiologist by the Amplifon center showing test results to a patient

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