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Turn up the settings for the hearing impaired

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Turn up the settings for the hearing impaired

One in three Australians over the age of 50 suffer from hearing loss, rising to one in two over 60. NATHAN WELLINGTON offers some tips for the hearing impaired to make the most of their devices.

Many find it difficult to navigate technology and hearing difficulties only add to the frustration.  Fine tuning devices can help immensely. Here are some tips to make life a little easier for those with a hearing impairment.

If you have Windows 10, navigate to the ease of access settings to change the audio. Select the Start button, then select Settings > Ease of Access > Audio.

Windows allows you to convert stereo sound into a single channel so you can hear everything, even if you’re using just one headphone. Within this section you can switch on the toggle under “Turn on mono audio”.

If you have trouble hearing audio alerts, you can have your PC display them visually.

Within the Audio section under “show audio alerts visually”, choose how you want audio alerts displayed. You can have the title bar, the active window, or the entire screen flash when a notification arrives, instead of relying on sound alone.

If you miss the notifications that appear on the bottom right of your screen, you can increase how long they are displayed by navigating to the Ease of Access section > Display, then, under “show notifications for”choose the amount of time you want.

Windows also provides closed captions in which you can customize the colour, size, and background of closed captions.

Navigate to Ease of Access > Closed captions, and then choose how you want captions to be displayed.

If your device is an iMac, MacBook, pro or Mac mini, Apple has also provided solutions for the hearing impaired.

iMessage is a simple solution for those who are hearing impaired to communicate with others via a messaging service app. You can reply to messages without having to locate your phone.  Mono Audio is important for those with hearing difficulties in one ear. You can set the sound to mono audio by navigating to system preferences> accessibility> audio and select “play stereo as mono”.

Screen Flash is another helpful tool for those who want alerts on their computers but would be unable to register the noises. You can use Screen Flash with every App and program that uses system sounds.

This option is also on the same settings screen as the mono selection called “Flash the screen when an alert sound occurs”. Select this option to activate this feature.

Closed Captions is also available on iTunes media and can be activated within the accessibility section under captions.

There are also many hearing aids that connect with mobile devices to seamlessly have the call stream to your hearing aid rather than through your phone. Many phones offer this support either through Bluetooth connection or other hardware.

iPhone supports TTY (Text Telephone) phone calls to make it easy to stay in the conversation if you’re deaf or hard of hearing.  It supports TTY phone calls without the need for TTY hardware. Live Listen is another iPhone function that helps conversations in loud places.

Android also offers many of these functions and includes Live Transcribe which turns live speech into real-time captions through the phone’s microphone.

There are also numerous apps that assist with hearing impairment.

If you are finding it difficult to activate these settings and are looking for some help you can always contact your local technician.

 Call 1300 682 817 or email nathan@hometechassist.com.au

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