When it comes to access needs, everyone is different. However, there is some technology you can consider changing, introducing or installing in the office to help support D/deaf colleagues or those with hearing loss.

Here are 9 top tips for technology you can introduce for Deaf colleagues or those with hearing loss:

1 – Video Content Captions for Deaf colleagues: Video can be a huge part of our company’s content, from YouTube guides to presentations. However, it can form part of our internal communications too. Adding captions to videos that can be easily read against the background is essential. It can be really simple to add text to a video using apps such as Capcut or websites such as Veed. Some social media apps like Instagram or TikTok may allow you to use AI-generated captions but you need to check that they are accurate and remove any mistakes.

2 –Practise runs: Test any digital platforms that you propose using for meetings ahead of schedule. Things like a bad internet connection, poor sound or signal could affect an online meeting. Ensure that captions are activated on any platforms that you use.

3 – Loop systems: Ensure that you have loop systems available for Deaf or hearing-impaired candidates.  They are inexpensive devices which can make such a difference.

4 – Relay app service: Next Generation Text Relay Service is a text relay service, that can be accessed using a smartphone, tablet or computer through an app. A D/deaf person makes the phone call and types a message to the relay assistant who speaks the words to the person at the end of the phone call. The assistant then types the response so it can be read on the display on the app. Ensure that work computers or smartphones allow the app to be downloaded or already have the app installed on them.

5 – Smartphone technology: Some hearing aids can be used with smartphone software and apps to control the level of sound. If your team are allowed to have work mobile phones, someone may need to request a certain model in order to use a particular feature or app. You may need to allow someone access to their phone during work hours to use these features.

6 – Phones: Some deaf people can understand speech over the phone but would prefer one that amplifies sound. There are lots of different makes and models on the market that have features such as extra loud ring tones, easy-to-understand and clear receivers that can work with hearing aids. Some may even have flashing lights to attract attention when someone is calling you.

You can also purchase hearing aid-compatible headsets. In-line telephone handset amplifiers are useful products that can increase the listening volume of existing corded phones with detachable handsets.

7 – Text messaging: Text messaging was actually invented for D/deaf people! Using messaging systems such as Slack means that you can facilitate conversations and reduce the need for someone to make phone calls.

8 – Table mics: When it comes to meetings, using wireless microphones placed on the table can help adults with hearing loss. A microphone is connected to the receiver and when placed on the table it can transmit speech to a person’s hearing aids.

9 – Fire alarms and Deaf colleagues/colleages with hearing loss: It’s important to consider how a D/deaf person will be made aware when the fire alarms sound.  If someone is unable to hear them, consider installing visual flashing strobe alarms. These will need to be placed strategically in the areas the D/deaf person works including meeting rooms for example.  You should also remember to install them in quiet areas such as toilets and prayer rooms as well as kitchens or canteens.   Alternatively, if this isn’t feasible, you could integrate your current alarm system with a critical alert pager system.

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