Zoom was the most downloaded iPhone app in the year 2021. It’s revenue is 4 times what it was in 2019. At this time last year, Zoom had 10 million daily meetings. It now has 350 million.
With new work settings, comes new challenges. Those with hearing loss report significant increase in difficulty hearing during virtual meetings. The combination of reduced audio quality and volume has made hearing in virtual work meetings stressful. In addition, virtual meetings do not hold as much visual support necessary for persons with hearing loss. Because, whether you realize it or not, we also use our eyes to hear. It’s normal and called the McGurk Effect.
So what can we do to help us hear in virtual work meetings?
1. Wear noise cancelling headphones to eliminate distracting background noise and provide direct audio input.
2. Ask for written prep materials or a recap of the meeting.
3. Set sound to mono instead of stereo so both ears get the same message.
4. Consider encouraging the use of an app such as Krisp to reduce background noise.
5. Mute microphones of attendees not talking.
6. Consider asking the speaker to utilize a boom microphone.
7. Have meetings recorded for future review of things missed.
8. Utilize caption features when available.
*Zoom announced that it’s free video service will now offer automatic live captions. They are naming this feature “Live Transcriptions”. To utilize this feature users must sign up by filing out this form. You can find Zoom’s full announcement here.
Hopefully one, all, or a combination of some of these suggestions can help you hear at your next virtual work meeting.