Center for Hearing and Communication’s Hearing Hacks on How to Make Virtual Gatherings Hearing-Friendly this Holiday season

Share Article

Leading New York hearing center offers tips for better hearing and communication this holiday season using apps and other technology along with strategies to ensure people with hearing loss are fully engaged in holiday celebrations.

The Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC), a leading nonprofit hearing health care center in New York that provides comprehensive services to people of all ages who are hard of hearing, deaf or deafblind, today announced its tips on how to make virtual gatherings hearing-friendly this holiday season. Although the holidays are going to look a lot different this year, with the right technology in place, there is an opportunity to successfully connect with your friends and family. Whether you have hearing loss or want to connect with someone who does, these tips are a must-have this holiday season.

The suggested tips focus on the virtual technology setup, hearing devices, communication strategies, and language access through captioning and sign language interpreters. “Taking the time to integrate these arrangements ahead of time, some of which will lower video fatigue can benefit everyone, not just those with hearing loss,” said Carolyn Ginsburg Stern, Asst. Director, Outreach and Strategic Initiatives for CHC.

  • Find a comfortable spot where you have a strong Wi-Fi signal or connect your device directly to your ethernet.
  • Use a video conference platform with captions such as Google Meet.
  • Enjoy smaller get-togethers, with captioning apps (such as Google Live Transcribe, Google Live Caption, Ava or Otter) or caption or video relay services.
  • Use a headset, earbuds, or an external microphone to transmit your voice clearly.
  • When possible, use your real-world background. Virtual backgrounds can make the video appear choppy and harder to speech read.
  • Assign someone to guide the conversation and make sure all participants are muted. Have the host call on participants who should then unmute themselves before speaking.
  • Consider connecting before or after the meal to make it easier to follow the conversation.
  • Keep the sessions short or build in listening breaks.
  • Sit close to the camera with your face centered in the video.
  • Pick a place that allows you to be well-lit (it will help with lip reading and engagement).
  • Unmute your mic only when it is your turn to speak.
  • Keep your surroundings quiet.
  • Be mindful that chatting and cross talk is distracting and interferes with comprehension.
  • Slow down the pace, pause in between phrases, and inform the group if the topic changes.
  • Share comments, questions, and answers in the Chat box.
  • Lastly, Zoom is lifting its 40-minute limit for all meetings on Thanksgiving Day allowing everyone to stay connected, so your family gatherings do not get cut short.

About Center for Hearing and Communication:
Founded in 1910, CHC is a historic pillar of support, offering high-quality, comprehensive services to empower people affected by hearing loss, deafness, or listening challenges. Through a unique blend of comprehensive and clinically outstanding onsite and virtual services, and community outreach programs, CHC impacts the quality of life for 50,000 infants, children, and adults annually. CHC offers the highest caliber of services to individuals and families coping with the challenges of hearing loss, regardless of ability to pay. Learn more at

Press inquiries please contact:
Nancy Nadler
Center for Hearing and Communication


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Visit website