Accommodating Deaf and Hard of Hearing Employees in Virtual Meetings

From the desk of Teresa Goddard, M.S., Lead Consultant – Sensory Team

Over the past year, JAN callers have expressed a great deal of interest in accommodations for virtual meetings. Last year, this led me to develop a resource on teleconferencing: Teleconference Accessibility and Hearing-Keeping Deaf and Hard of Hearing Employees in the Loop. Since then, I have checked in with many employees who are deaf or hard of hearing and who now participate in most meetings remotely. Many people have remarked that non-verbal communication is more challenging in a video conferencing format. Others have mentioned that communicating on complex and technical topics is more challenging without access to interpreters and CART transcriptionists they had previously worked with in person. In contrast, I have also heard from employees who are hard of hearing and are thriving in a work-at-home setting without masks and where they can adjust their volume as needed.

Both employers and employees are also interested in automated captioning options but often have high expectations for the speed and accuracy when using this relatively new technology. Automated captioning technology has vastly improved in speed and accuracy over the past few years. I have seen them all work well, but they [...]

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