Blog: Hear Better With Hearing Loss
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A triumph! Yesterday I took part in a conference call!
If you don't have hearing loss, you may be thinking "ho-hum, big deal, what is she so thrilled about." If you do have hearing loss, you probably get it immediately.
A while ago I wrote a comprehensive blog post about the various options for successful use of the telephone. You can read it here, which is on my Psychology Today blog, "What I Hear."
But yesterday's call was a first. A challenging first.
There were three of us on the call. The fact that the others were one woman and one man made the situation much easier, because I could tell their voices apart.
Here's how it worked. Using my laptop captioning program, ClearCaptions.com, I dialed into the number we had been given to set up the call. ClearCaptions is one of many captioning systems and although it may not be the most accurate (though many captioning systems have glitches), it has the benefit of working with any phone, through any computer. I merely log on to my account, fill in the number I'm calling and the number I'm calling from, and wait for the phone I'm using to ring.
The call took about 30 minutes. I had to ask the others to repeat what they had said several times, when neither I or the captioning system picked up the words. The second time, both I and the machine generally got the gist of it.
A conference call would be harder with more people, and it would be much harder when the other callers have similar voices, foreign accents or for one reason or another don't speak clearly. It would also be harder if the participants were competitive and spoke over each other and interrupted.
In this case all three of us were deferential to the others and didn't interrupt.
The experience was actually pretty exhilarating. So much of my communication is via email that I forget the immediacy of telephone conversations. I vowed that I would renew my resolve to master the telephone.
One other thing. As soon as you sign off the system, the captions disappear. But it is possible to make a copy before you lose them. This is tremendously helpful in remembering the content of the call. When I put all my energy into hearing -- listening! comprehending! -- I don't have much cognitive matter left over for remembering. The captions are a written record of the call that I can look at again and again, garble and all.