Trying to have a conversation on the phone can be extremely frustrating sometimes. Does this look like a familiar conversation?
You: “Hi honey, how have you and the kids been?”
Your daughter: “We just got a puppy so the kids are having a lot of fun with him! They named him Cooper.”
You: “Who’s Cooper?”
Your daughter: “Our new puppy!”
Your daughter: “Oh, never mind. We’re good.”
(Skip to 1:45 in the video below, has this ever happened to you?)
Staying connected with friends and loved ones is important, but the phone is no easy solution. Especially for someone with a hearing loss.
One of the biggest reasons why it is so hard to hear on the telephone is because you can’t see the person. You lose all those visual cues that you get in face-to-face conversation: mouth movements, body language, facial expressions, and hand gestures.
We rely more on visual information to understand speech than we realize. This is the reason why even people with normal hearing can have difficulty understanding on the phone, especially in background noise.
That is why sometimes we need more help than what the audio enhancements of amplified telephones, hearing aid phone programs, and wireless streaming can give us.
The great thing about technology is that there is an easier way to talk on the phone! Its’ called video-calling, and it allows us to be able to not only listen to the conversation, but to see the conversation in front of us on our smartphones, tablets, or even computers.
A recent study in The Hearing Review showed that speech understanding on the phone improved by 23% in participants with severe-to-profound hearing loss when using audio+visual information by using a video-calling app (FaceTime) versus an audio-only phone conversation, even with wireless streaming to their hearing aids.
To get you started with video-calling we’ve rounded up some of the most popular video-calling applications for you to choose from.
FaceTime is a video-calling app that is specific for Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad. It is built into the Apple device so it will come ready to go on your device. No download or sign-up needed.
Tango gained popularity quickly for it’s additional features, including picture sharing, personalized messages, and cards while you are enjoying a video-call.
ooVoo is great if you want to video-chat with multiple people at one time. You can connect with up to 12 people at once.
Owned by Google, this has become the default program for Android devices. It also works on Windows OR Mac computers. It has text messaging, voice, and video calling available. Just like FaceTime for iPhone, Hangouts comes pre-loaded on any Android device. You can instantly video-chat one-on-one or with up to 10 people at a time.
Skype has been around for a while now and it is still one of the most popular! You can use it on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. It’s completely free with an internet connection.
Fring has free calls, video, and text and can connect up to 4 people at one time, as long as they are registered.
Imo is one of the simplest video-calling apps there is. Send messages, make video and voice calls with one button press.
Glide does not offer live video-calling but you can send a pre-recorded video message up to 5 minutes long to one or more person. The recipient can then respond with their own video message at their convenience. It’s kind of like visual voicemail.
Viber has some unique features, allowing you to send a pre-recorded video message or have a live video-chat. You can also send stickers, messages, photos, and your current location.
Zoom is a video-conferencing App allowing you to have face-to-face conversations with up to 25 people at a time. It’s great for the professional, allowing you to set up virtual meetings, host webinars, send invites, and messages. It works on most audio-visual devices.
Video-calling is becoming more accessible and is often free with most applications. However, be aware that video-calling will utilize your data when not connected to WiFi. Be sure to check your data plan before using video-calling regularly.
Not only does video-calling help with speech understanding, but it can make the connection even more intimate.
In the conversation we discussed in the beginning, the new dog Cooper could even make a debut on the screen, eliminating any confusion about who Cooper is!
Don’t be afraid to give it a try and reconnect with your loved ones.
Let us know in the comments which is your favorite video app!