By Patrick deHahn at QZ.com – Zoom meetings. FaceTime calls. Parties, chats, and game nights over video. As work and life events go remote, people are increasingly sharing the feeling of “Zoom fatigue.” And they’re experiencing a sliver of what the deaf and hard of hearing undergo every day. It’s called “concentration fatigue.” Mario Svirsky, professor of hearing science at NYU Langone Health medical center explains, “A little background noise can [make] communication much more difficult. You may participate in a meeting focusing on everything for the full two hours and then you are wiped out.” With “Zoom fatigue,” struggling with non-verbal cues is relatable to how hard of hearing individuals have to accurately lipread, view sign language clearly, or get an unobstructed view of faces and body language. Other “Zoom” struggles include choppy audio, time delays, or pixelated video. The deaf community encounters this nearly everywhere like they’re piecing together a puzzle. “If you’re just missing one or two words or a little bit of information, it’s… going to affect how well you perform in a meeting or with friends,” says NYU Langone postdoctoral fellow Ariel Hight, who has hearing loss himself. Deaf and hard of hearing individuals never stop processing sounds and translating what they mean throughout each day.
Helpful Video Conferencing Tips For Communicating With Deaf People: Provide strong video quality – Use a steady camera & good lighting – Avoid shadows and too bright/busy backgrounds – Keep groups small and make sure to take turns speaking – Provide captions and post-meeting transcripts.