Tips & Tricks: Home Learning with Hearing Loss

As we are all facing changes in this global pandemic, we are also learning how to adapt. Across the state of Indiana, students are participating in eLearning, many for the first time. Hear Indiana wants to support our community with some tips and tricks for home learning with hearing loss.

Let’s start with captioning.

Captioning can be a very useful tool during eLearning, as we do not always have visual cues. Listening through speakers or headphones can be challenging when wearing devices. There are resources that we can use to add captioning to the eLearning experience and video chatting, as well as resources teachers can use to provide captioning to all of their students.

Three things to keep in mind while providing automated captioning:

1.Rate of speech

Speak clearly and slowly.

2. Background noise

Turn off background noise (TV) and move away from appliances like HVAC systems when possible.

3. Distance between speaker and microphone

Get close to your microphone. If you’re captioning something playing over a speaker, make sure your microphone is located as close to that speaker as possible.

Additionally, provide visual cues of your face/mouth while speaking, when possible.

Using integrated automated captioning:

There are several applications that have integrated automated captioning available, and the viewer (student) can choose to activate the captions on their own. Here are a few that we have given a test drive:


The current version of Zoom does not include automated captioning. Consider using one of the third party caption applications listed below while communicating on Zoom.


Google Slides: Captions available while presenting.

Click on the CC box at the bottom of the screen. If it is a recorded presentation, then a screen recording from your computer or device will be needed for captioning to be included (consider using Loom listed below for screen recording).

Google Meet: Captions available for viewer by clicking on the CC button at the bottom. If you want to save captions for viewing later, then you need to do a screen recording (refer to Loom for screen recording with captions).

Use captions in a meeting – G Suite meeting room hardware help

Try pinning the main speaker, or a person that is hard to understand, so that you have visual cues.

You can also add the Chrome Unboxed extension to your Google Chrome web browser to view all faces in the meeting grid style.

Loom Chrome Extension: This extension for your Chrome web browser allows you to screen record, including captions, and has the ability to move the location of the presenter’s face during presentation (great for visual cues)! You can also choose not to show your face at all. 

Another option for Mac users (and some PCs) is Google Meet as a third party captioner using a split screen. Our Audiologist, Dr. Lauren Gowdy, gave this a try… She found it worked on her MacBook, but on her Lenovo ThinkPad (PC) split screen did not work. (More about third party captioning below.)

Office 365 PowerPoint:

Automated captions available on PC standalone application with Windows 10 while presenting.

Automated captioning available macOS version or higher while presenting.

Automated captioning available on the web for the following browsers: Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome 34+, Mozilla Firefox 25+

Microsoft Captioning Support 


Captions available during calls

How do I turn live captions & subtitles on during a Skype call?


Captions are available for videos that have activated automated captioning when recording.

Use automatic captioning – YouTube Help

If you are posting a video to Youtube, you have the option to turn on and edit the captions to ensure accuracy before sharing.

Now let’s talk about those third party applications:

10 hours free for every 30 days, however there is a significant discount for pro-membership available to students and teachers. Only works with Google Chrome Web Browser on your computer as a split screen, or it can be run as an app for Android or iOS devices. You can save and edit transcriptions.

Able to upload pre-recorded videos for captioning through

You can connect to Zoom meetings directly with pro membership, here’s how:

Record Zoom Meetings with Otter, or you can use split screen with the free subscription. But again, Dr. Gowdy, had difficulty getting this to work on a PC platform, while it worked easily on a Mac.

Ava App:

Ava runs through iOS or Android devices as an application

There is a basic subscription with a time limit, but some schools have already paid for an unlimited subscription – check with your school district.

The student can connect to their teacher via the app (after both have downloaded the app and signed in) so that the external computer speakers don’t need to be used. This would allow third party captioning while using headphones or streaming through your hearing aids.

Downside: Ava cannot provide captions during phone calls.

Live Transcribe:

Available only on Android devices.

Provides automated captioning in many different languages.

Has ability to copy and paste text elsewhere. 

Completely free! Works with Google Chrome web browser only.

Note: Dr. Gowdy could not get it to work with her Lenovo ThinkPad, it did work on her MacBook with a split screen, but admittedly, not very well. 

Note: worked much better in split screen mode and the volume of the external computer speakers did not need to be as loud, when compared to

Additional Resources:

Families and students with a child who is deaf or hard of hearing have access to over 8,000 free captioned and described educational videos via the Described and Captioned Media Program.  Teachers can also use this website as a resource for learning videos: Remote Learning With DCMP Accessible Videos

Another wonderful resource is Dr. Tina Childress, she also has a blog on this topic.