In a time where most communication has switched to an online or virtual setting, it is important to consider some strategies that can help you or others on the call hear better.
Tips for hearing better on Zoom:
Limit background noise and have others on the call also limit background noise.
Use a headset. Noise cancelling headphones can be a great tool to use to block out unwanted background noise, while delivering the Zoom calls audio directly to your ears.
Pin the speaker for better viewing in Zoom. This is going to enable you to prominently feature the person speaking in the center of your screen. This will allow you to pick up facial cues and read lips if needed during the zoom call.
There are additional computer and/or smart phone speech recognition apps that can be used to transcribe what is being said. This will allow you to not only hear the meeting, but read it as well. This can also be helpful if you need to come back to clarify something later on.
Web-based options include Web Captioner and Otter.ai
Phone-based options include Ava: best live captions and Live Transcribe
Automatic captions are available and easy to use on other virtual meeting platforms such as Google Meetings and Microsoft Teams. This may be a more appropriate option for those who have hearing impairments. Zoom does not offer an automatic captions feature at this time.
Avoid echoes. Speaking with an echo present makes it much harder to understand you and the other person. To prevent echoes, make sure you join your meeting using only a single audio source (ex. Your computer audio or phone line, but not both). Similarly, when a group attends a meeting make sure there is only one person providing audio for the meeting or the group members. Follow audio conference call etiquette with only one active speaker speaking at a time. When others are not speaking, their microphones should be muted.
If others are having trouble hearing you on a video call or if you know you are going to be communicating with hearing impaired people, there are also things you should consider.
Get closer to the mic on your computer or phone. Slow your speech down, and speak clearly and loudly.
Limit outside distractions by performing your video call in a quiet setting with a non-distracting background.
Use a clip-on microphone that can help you get better sound from your computer or phone. Pinning the microphone to your shirt will allow your voice to be picked up at a stronger level with less outside interference.
A USB microphone can be used to help pick up your voice better.
Use wireless audio when you need to move around. This will allow for less background noise to be picked up and can be less distracting to the listener.