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.
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10 thoughts on “When Hearing Technology Is Only Half the Battle”
Just today I Zoom-interviewed with a potential employer (I sent the link for CC). He was very understanding and supportive of my hearing challenges. I also thought I knew most available assistive technologies but he told me about https://buyqball.com/. This info blew me away. I had NEVER heard of it. My question to readers here is whether anyone has heard of this and/or used it and if so whether it worked well for you. This has the potential of being a true game changer for me and can allow me to return to teaching. Any feedback is appreciated.
Wow! That looks interesting. I have not tried it, but it could be quite a game changer if it worked well. Thanks for letting us know about it.
I’ve been searching for a replacement for my Android phone, and both the manufacturer of the phone I am considering and Verizon have pages dedicated to accessibility options and how to use the features. Users should also keep in mind that certain apps (ex. text-to-speech) will work with iPhones but not Android, and vice versa. And yes, all customer service reps need to be trained to (patiently) teach people how to use the accessibility features they need.
Very true! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and good luck with your decision.
I tried watching the QBall video on their web site to see if worth buying. NO CAPTIONS WITH THE VIDEO! Not very good marketing.
Martin, ironic right? I’ll be communicating with them and will let them knows!
What’s also great about Apple Stores is that they offer hearing loops so you can have better clarity while you are listening to the trainer!
That is great! Thanks for sharing your experience.
Can any of you recommend any voice to text apps that don’t require internet? It would be for use on an Apple tablet. Visiting my grandma has gotten rough.
Live Transcribe now works offline on many Android phones, but that would not work on an iPad. I believe Otter.ai does not require an internet connection to work — but it may need cellular. Thank you for your question.