How do people with hearing disabilities feel about online communication, which has become widespread due to the spread of the new coronavirus?

According to a survey conducted by an incorporated association, 70% of hearing-impaired people answered that they had merits, while the same number of people answered that they felt inconvenience.

The survey was conducted by the "Dialogue Japan Society" via the Internet last month, and 111 people, including office workers and students in their teens to 70s with hearing disabilities, responded.

When asked about online meetings and classes that have become popular at work and school, 68% of the respondents answered "yes" when asked if they were happy.

Specifically, it was mentioned that there was no need to move, which was a heavy burden, that text information such as chat increased, and that the number of people who spoke firmly into the microphone increased.

On the other hand, 72% of the respondents answered "yes" when asked if they had any inconvenience in online communication.

In the free answer of the questionnaire, many people talk with the camera off, it is difficult to understand the conversation because they can not see the mouth and facial expressions, and it is especially difficult to hear the story of the person wearing the mask online, the timing to enter the story There was a statement that I did not understand.

Shinsuke Shimura, director of the "Dialogue Japan Society" who conducted the survey, said, "While the advancement of online society has made it more convenient for people with hearing disabilities, further ingenuity is required when communicating. The current situation is also highlighted. I want people with disabilities to think again at work and school about the ideal way of meetings and classes that people with disabilities can easily participate in. "

"The method of communication has changed dramatically" on the other hand

Since last year, Mr. Kabayashi Matsumori, who works for the incorporated association that conducted the survey and has a hearing disability, has increased the number of online meetings with companies.

Mr. Matsumori gives advice to companies about "universal design" that is easy for anyone to use regardless of disability or nationality, and I feel the benefits of online meetings.

In addition to the development of apps that recognize chat and voice and convert them into characters, some companies that understand them will arrange a sign language interpreter in advance, making it easier to attend meetings.

Mr. Matsumori says, "The spread of online has dramatically changed the way we communicate."

On the other hand, it is also said that it is easy to feel "alienated" because sufficient communication cannot be obtained only by exchanging characters using chat or apps.

Many people turn off the camera at meetings so that they can't see their face, but it can be stressful because they can't see the other person's facial expressions, which is important information for people with hearing impairments.

Also, even if you understand the contents of the meeting through chat, it is difficult to understand when to start talking, and it is difficult to measure the timing of remarks.

Mr. Matsumori said, "When a meeting gets hot, people with hearing disabilities tend to be forgotten. First of all, it is important to ask people with disabilities how they want to communicate. Then, a little bit that anyone can do. I want you to put your ideas into practice today. I think that will lead to communication that is easy for everyone, not just people with disabilities. "

5 points of online meetings

Here are five points of the online conference that this incorporated association considered with the hearing impaired.

1 Turn on the camera

First, turn on the camera such as a personal computer so that you can see your face.

People tend to speak without showing their faces with the camera turned off, but the facial expressions of the other person are important information for the hearing impaired.

Even if you are using an app that converts voice into characters, if you cannot see your face, you will not be able to understand the atmosphere and nuances, and you will feel anxious.

2 Be aware

of facial expressions The second is to be aware of facial expressions.

For example, when talking about sales, be aware of a smile when talking about good things and a troubled expression when talking about bad things.

It will be easier for everyone to understand what the meeting is like now.

Some people with hearing impairments can understand the conversation by looking at their mouth, so make sure there is no risk of infection before removing the mask if you can.

3 Don't


suddenly Third, don't

speak suddenly.

Please raise your hand and be nominated as a facilitator before making a statement.

Writing in a chat and then speaking is also a thoughtful way.

4 Clarify

who is speaking The fourth is to clarify who is speaking.

Especially when talking with multiple people, it becomes difficult to understand who is talking what when the discussion is heated.

Try to speak one by one at online meetings.

5 Gestures The

fifth is to talk with gestures and gestures.

It is said that it is just right to exaggerate a little.

When you agree, you can make it much easier to understand by just showing the circle by hand toward the screen or making a cross if you disagree.