Tips for Virtual Communication from People with Hearing Loss

Tips for Virtual Communication from People with Hearing Loss

In Communication, Hearing Loss by Dr. Jason Leyendecker

Dr. Jason Leyendecker

When the COVID 19 pandemic occurred in 2020 it changed the way we communicated. Even today, as we are meeting in person more often once again, virtual communication continues to be a widely accepted way to meet for work or even for social events. Today we now understand in a way that we didn’t before that many job responsibilities can mainly be done from home, which prior to the pandemic would rarely or never be worked virtually. Only one-in-five of workers in the United States reported that they worked from home all or most of the time. However as of 2020, 71% of US workers were doing their job from home all or most of the time. 

Virtual communication is now a widely accepted way to connect with family, with work, and with friends for clubs, seminars, and recreation. While pandemic conditions fueled advancements in virtual communication, making it even more convenient, still, virtual communication can present specific challenges for people with hearing loss. If you have hearing loss, virtually communication can affect some of the ways we rely on to help us connect. However, three years plus of virtual communication during a pandemic has helped us to identify some tips to make the experience easier for everyone.

Use Video

Video chat is the most common technique for virtual communication; however, it can feel overwhelming to appear on screen, especially if you have social anxiety due to a hearing loss. We want to urge you to keep your video on, even if it makes you uncomfortable at first. This allows you and others to rely on visual cues to help you stay engaged even with a hearing loss. This includes nonverbal communication aids to help provide context such as lip reading, body language and facial expression. It also can help the other members of a virtual meeting to take note of facial expressions if you are able to follow what they are saying.

Check Lighting

It is important for you and everyone on screen to make sure they are well lit so you can take note of visual cues. You may want to invest in a light to provide clear lighting to your face and body to help you and others be sure you are able to fully understand each other.


A secret to a successful meeting is starting with introductions. This not only gives people a moment to become acquainted and feel included but gives everyone a chance to adjust their listening settings such as putting in headphones. In addition this is a good moment to let people know you have a hearing loss and what they can do to make it easier for you to understand.

Avoid Multitasking

The computer is an amazing tool, but sometimes it can provide too much access to information. It can be tempting to look up information on another screen, or message a friend on group chat during a meeting. However, this can set up an instance of not paying as much attention as you need to for success. It is important to eliminate or reduce any distractions as much as possible, especially if you have hearing loss. In addition, avoid other distractions such as eating, drinking, texting, leaving the screen so you can fully focus.

Use Mute Button

“you’re muted”. At this point anyone who uses group video meetings, is used to this phrase. It is important to check your mute button and make sure it is disengaged when you are trying to talk or add to the conversation. However, when you are not speaking, background noise from your home or office can be distracting. Make sure the mute button is applied to keep the meeting quieter for all. It will help you and everyone else.

Use Assistive Listening Devices

If you use hearing aids, make sure that they are charged up when you meet virtually. Many digital hearing aids today are now Bluetooth equipped to sync your hearing aids to virtual meetings. This can eliminate background noise and send clear sound directly to your ear canal for clear hearing. If you have been struggling to hear in a virtual meeting, we have many tips to offer. To find out more about hearing aids and tips for virtual communication, contact us today!