During a stay-at-home order, communicating can be difficult for anyone, but especially people who are hard of hearing or Deaf.
According to Lara Bruce, who’s been working in the audiology field for years, people who have hearing loss or are Deaf can be more prone to feeling isolated.
“Can you imagine having hearing loss and being isolated, and not feeling like you’re really able to be in on the conversation, but then on top of it right now with this pandemic and we are socially isolating or self-quarantining,” said Lara Bruce, Account Manager for Caption Call Midwest.
Talking with Technology
Technology has helped bridge the gap of communication, with video calls and text messaging, but is still not perfect for everyone.
“Even people with the best hearing aids in the world, might still struggle to hear clearly on the phone. Because the phone doesn’t transmit sound, in the same way as in real life. And also you can’t see the persons face, and we really use the person’s facial expressions and movements of the mouth to fill in the blank when we’re not hearing someone very well,” said Bruce.
Communication with technology extends to schoolwork as well. Most schools have moved to e-learning to continue teaching their students, and members of the Deaf or hard of hearing communities have had to adjust.
“Yeah it’s much harder to do work on a laptop,” said Eddie Strugalla of Geneva high school.
“His interpreter, she’s online with you too right? So she’s online with him as there’s instruction being given. The one Thing we found out, which I didn’t know, and I do web conferencing and all that, he goes through, what is it? Microsoft teams, and he’s able to get closed captioning,” said Barb Strugalla
One tool to help with communication while staying at home is captioning. Microsoft Teams and Zoom both offer captioning options for their users.
Caption Call is a no-cost federal program that automatically generates captions during phone calls, for anyone who is Deaf or hard of hearing. The program is available on landline phones and as an app.
“We have consumers who use our services a lot, where they can’t really communicate on the phone without reading what the caption is saying, and we have people who kind of use it here and there to fill in the blanks when they’re missing a few words. But basically, Caption Call is like closed captioning on the telephone.” said Bruce.
Approximately, 48 million Americans are currently living with significant hearing loss.
Naperville News 17’s Ryan Skryd reports.
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