How to make podcasts better for hard of hearing people

The average American listen to More than 16 hours of online audio content – such as podcasts – every week. This is up 17 percent from last year.

But not everyone finds it easy to listen.

Most people with hearing loss be Able to access podcasts: 1 in 6 adults In the UK with some hearing loss, only about 12 percent of these adults are severely or profoundly deaf. Depending on the sound quality, listening environment, and access to hearing aids or noise-canceling headphones, it is certainly possible for most hearing-impaired people to enjoy podcasts.

However, people with auditory processing disorder can also find it difficult to listen to podcasts. JN Benjamin, an audio producer with an auditory processing disorder, described it as having no control over what her brain is doing, causing her to “hear a lot”.

In short, she says, “I have no control over what my brain chooses to process, and there are all kinds of things that cause that and cause stress.” So when it comes to podcasts, sound design is especially important to Benjamin and other people with auditory processing disorder, because they hear a lot of sounds that others might not pick up.

On the surface, auditory processing disorder may seem like the opposite of hearing loss – with one, the listener picks up sounds that others may not hear, and with the other, the listener can hear less than the others.

But when it comes to podcasts, the challenges are pretty much the same.

Fortunately, there are a few things podcasters and other audio content creators can do to make their content accessible to hearing-impaired listeners or those with an auditory processing disorder, and fortunately, many of these tweaks will make the experience better for all listeners.

Always clear and pure speech

Professional level recording hardware and editing software may not be available to everyone, but you can set it up with Essential Tools of Trade For a few hundred dollars.

However, recording equipment is not the only indicator of sound quality.

Karen Shepherd, Director of Professional Standards at HearingCare Shoes The former president of the British Academy of Audiology (BAA), he stressed the importance of producing high-quality sound, with very little competing sound. When you have several presenters, for example, it is important that they do not talk to each other.

In addition to technically clear recording, clarity of speech can also be important. We find it easier to understand the dialects we are familiar with, says Lauren Ward, who researches media access at York University.

This doesn’t rule out audio broadcasts for people with a strong regional accent, but speaking more slowly and vocally can be especially helpful for hearing-impaired listeners.

Pay attention in post production

There are a number of things that creators can do in post-production to make audio more meaningful.

Independent podcast producer and BBC radio producer Callum Ronan advises producers to take steps in recording and editing:

  • Volume balance for left and right channels of headphones/speakers
  • Remove bleed from microphones to avoid echo or delay
  • Mix content to equalize volume levels across multiple hosts
  • Work on the LUFS -16 to -18 loudness standard to prepare the file for publication

Watch support tracks and surround sound

For most people, auditory scene analysis, or the ability to pick out a single sound in a noisy environment, is second nature.

Ward suggests thinking about the last time you were at a party, with multiple conversations, low background music, and hard glasses. Most people with normal hearing are able to “enlarge” the conversation they are interested in and block out other sounds.

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