Over the past two years, working from home has been a daily reality for millions of people. But even with the recent relaxation in pandemic restrictions, for many, working from home is part of ‘the new normal’.
For those of us with hearing loss, so-called ‘hybrid working’ (splitting work time more equally between office and home) presents some serious challenges, but also some opportunities to remain just as productive – or even more so – compared to in-office working.
Here’s our working from home health tips to make life easier with hearing loss.
Use your computer’s accessibility features
Whether you use a Windows PC or an Apple Mac, both have great accessibility features designed to help those with hearing loss. Closed captions, clearer notifications and speech-to-text tools can make for an easier working experience.
Find out how to use your computer’s accessibility features: Windows users click here, Mac users here (this page also gives you an overview of Apple’s hearing loss accessibility features). For iPad and iPhone users, iOS also has excellent accessibility features.
Switch on captions in Microsoft Teams or Zoom
Unless you have an advanced hearing aid with Bluetooth connectivity, making out what people are saying on video calls can be tough. Closed captions use clever cloud-based technology to convert spoken words into real-time text. Find out how to use it here.
Reduce background noise
The kettle is whistling, the kids shouting, the washing machine is on full spin and the neighbours have builders bashing around with a kitchen refit. Working from home can come with a whole lot of sounds that just aren’t present in a quiet office environment.
When taking calls it’s a good idea to find the quietest spot in the house – somewhere with lots of soft furnishings will muffle any background noises to hear your call more clearly.
It’s also a good idea to let the other inhabitants in your house know when you’ll be on a call so they can avoid putting the washing machine on or singing karaoke! Or go one better and invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones that you can connect to your computer and use when working.
Use speech-to-text software
Speech-to-text software can be helpful, but our advice is to start with the free or cheaper smartphone and tablet apps before considering the more expensive software. Here’s a complete guide, which covers both options. https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/best-speech-to-text-app
Ask for written minutes or call summaries
If you’re having problems hearing during calls, another good option is to see if you can be sent the minutes from any meetings you have online. That way if you’ve missed or misunderstood anything due to hearing difficulties, you’ll have everything written out for you so you know exactly the task that’s in front of you for the day.
Get a hearing aid
Hearing problems don’t just affect the elderly. In fact they can affect anyone at any age, so if you’re having difficulty working from home, it might be time to book a hearing test to see if you would benefit from hearing aids.
With lots of smart features, modern hearing aids – like the Oticon MORE – have all the tech to trump the bestselling headphones on the market. Digital connectivity, smartphone controls, background noise reduction help deliver a fuller, more complete aural experience.
Book a hearing test
At The Hearing Care Partnership, we offer a wide range of hearing aids and a full hearing care package for complete holistic treatment. Simply book a hearing assessment with us over the phone on 0800 52 00 546 or online, and one of our expert audiologists will help you discover the best ear care plan for your ears.