Hearing technology can be life changing for people with hearing loss. But in order for it to have the greatest impact, it must not only be easy to use, it must be easy to integrate into a variety of technology set-ups. In this article for HHTM, I share the frustration of trying to get a friend’s hearing tech working with her existing technology setup and share my ideas for ways to make the process simpler.
An excerpt from the article is below. Read the full post at FindHearing on HHTM.
Hearing Technology Needs to Be Easy
“I want to watch the recording of this talk with captions, but they were not provided,” one of my hearing loss friends asked me a few weeks ago. Do you have any ideas how I can do this?
I thought this would be easy. Toggle a setting in Google Chrome and download a few apps. Done. “See,” I would say, “this was easy!”
But it turns out that the hearing technology was only half the battle.
We logged into her computer and opened the video she wanted to watch in the Google Chrome browser, but the captioning didn’t work. We enabled Live Captions in the settings. It didn’t work. We updated the Chrome browser to the latest version. It didn’t work. We googled what to do when Google Live Captions aren’t working and tried the various suggestions. They didn’t work. We rebooted the computer. It didn’t work.
“See,” she said, “it’s no use.”
I am sure my friend is not alone in her challenges with technology. It is hard to keep operating systems updated and passwords at-the-ready in normal situations, but when we require technology to communicate well—especially during a pandemic—it becomes mission-critical.
How can hearing-tech companies make it easier to incorporate their tools into a hodgepodge of pre-existing phones and computers at various stages of readiness?
Here are some ideas:
1. Apple to the rescue
Apple hosts daily training sessions at their retail locations and virtually for users of their products. Common titles include “Intro to iPhone,” “Art Skills: Sketching Ideas in Notes,” and “Photography on iPhone.” Why not add “Intro to Hearing Accessibility on iPhone” or “How to Set up your Mac for Hearing Accessibility?” Apple could advertise the sessions through local Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) chapters and/or audiologist offices. I bet the sessions would be packed!
For more ideas, continue reading on HHTM.