The last few months have proved challenging for those of us with hearing loss.
However, there are exciting avenues of technology that we can use to keep in touch with our family and friends. Being able to see the person enables us to use our lipreading skills.
- The following is free software and is speech to text. I have used it and is quite accurate, but I could only use it only on my laptop!
The site is https://webcaptioner.com . It must be used on Google Chrome Web browser on a laptop or desktop computer. It won't currently work on mobile devices at the moment.
If you can find a tablet that runs windows 10, then that is a good option.
- Face time is good. It freezes sometimes but is better than the telephone for those of us who use lipreading.
- What’s App is similar to FaceTime and can be used for group communication.
- I haven’t used Skype myself but I understand this is similar to FaceTime and WhatsApp.
- Zoom is very useful for group meetings. There is a basic free version. For one to one meetings there is no time limit but if there are groups of more than two, there is a time limit of 40 minutes. It is good for the meetings, again occasional freezes but manageable.
- Of course there is always email and the other telephone assistive devices including Next Generation Text Service (NGTS). See BT for hard of hearing or DEAF.
- There are new personal amplifiers available and details can be found on the internet by typing “personal amplifiers for the hard of hearing” and by searching the websites of HearingLink; Action on Hearing Loss – Assistive Devices and many other hearing loss charities.
-The wearing of face masks although necessary is a barrier to communication for those of us with hearing loss. There are some developments to provide facemasks with clear mouth areas so that we will be able to lipread. Look out for news of this. I didn’t see it but I believe there was a slot on the news about clear face masks.
With the virtual meetings I was reminded of verse we used to say when I was a child.
“There’s a party on the hill
Can you come?
Bring your own cup and saucer
And a bun! ………………”
If you know of any other means to help communication, please let me know.
Many thanks and keep safe and well and enjoy this glorious weather!!
See you at the “virtual” party sometime!!