By Carolyn Stern
Assistant Director of Outreach and Strategic Initiatives
Did know you can use the InnoCaption+ app to make your Zoom calls accessible? As a loyal user of InnoCaption+ since it launched a few years back, I was thrilled to learn of this option. For those of you who don’t know, InnoCaption+ makes mobile phone calls accessible by displaying on the phone’s screen live captions of the caller’s voice generated by highly skilled stenographers, also known as CART or computer access real-time captioning. (Alternatively, you can set up your InnoCaption+ app to use Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) for all of your calls or use ASR until a live captioner is available when the service is in high demand.) The app is intended only for individuals with a hearing loss and is provided at no charge.
For making your Zoom calls accessible with captions from the InnoCaption+ app, you will need two devices. Specifically, a smartphone with the InnoCaption+ app and the Zoom app set up, and then another screen device such as a desktop computer, tablet or laptop with a built-in or added web camera. It’s important to note that this option will only work if the Zoom meeting is set up to allow participation by phone and is controlled by the meeting host.
There are a couple of detailed steps to make this happen, and it may take a few tries to get the hang of it. So, test it out by calling a friend or co-worker at least once or twice before using it for an important meeting. Because InnoCaption+ uses a remote CART reporter to caption a call, the quality of the captions is very good, provided there is a good internet connection for each participant and each person speaks in turn.
Below is a Zoom session that is viewed on a computer monitor while captioned using the InnoCaption+ app on a smartphone (dialed into the Zoom session). Detailed instructions follow.
Step 1: Download the InnoCaption+ app on a smartphone (iPhone or Android) and set it up. The company has very good instructions and customer service if you need assistance. Also, add the Zoom app to your smartphone as well. If you haven’t used InnoCaption+ before, I recommend trying out a few phone calls prior to using it with Zoom.
Step 2: Key in a dial-in phone number provided on the meeting invite using the InnoCaption+ app on your smartphone. If no number is provided on the meeting invite, you can call Zoom’s main number at 929-436-2866 instead. Once connected, a voice prompt will ask that you key in the Meeting ID, your Participant ID and Password on the keypad in the smartphone app. If you do not have a Participant ID, you can simply press # and then enter the Password. After that is completed, the remote captioner should hear voices in the Zoom meeting and start captioning on your smartphone screen.*
Step 3: Set up the viewing of the Zoom meeting on your other screen device, such as a desktop or laptop, by clicking on the Zoom meeting link. Once a box pops up, it will ask if you want to “Join with Computer Audio or “Already joined by Phone.” Select “Already joined by Phone.” Do not select “Join with Computer Audio” because if you join by both computer audio and your smartphone’s audio, it will create a feedback echo. If you haven’t already entered the Participant ID, key it into the InnoCaption+ app.
Below is a screen shot of what will appear on your computer screen after dialing into the meeting through the InnoCaptions+ app. Select “Already joined by Phone and enter the Participant ID in the pop up window.
Remember to always mute your mic on the InnoCaption+ app and unmute it when you want to speak. Take the time to run through the steps. It’s a great option to try out.
If you have any questions about this or other captioning methods, please click here to contact us and we’ll gladly provide assistance. Also, if you have tips to add, please send them our way to share with our readers.
Remember, CHC is here for you. If you are having difficulty hearing well with any aspect of your remote work set-up, or are looking for support in any way, please contact your CHC audiologist. If you prefer, you can call our main number in New York at 917-305-7700 or in Ft. Lauderdale at 954-601-1930.
If you’re not currently a CHC client, but need assistance, we’re happy to help. Also consider reaching out to your hearing aid manufacturer’s help line which is also readily available to aid as well.
More videoconferencing tips
This post is just one in a series from CHC to help you Hear and Connect better through communication strategies and technology solutions that you can use at home. Click below to check out these related posts:
I would like to acknowledge Elizabeth Ralston, an accessibility consultant and Evan Brunell for alerting me of this option and showing me how it works. Thank you!
*If you did not enter a participant ID in the initial set up when joining a meeting, you can still associate your video frame with your phone number frame. To do this, left click on the “Participants” icon (looks like a silhouette of two people) on the bottom tool bar and a side bar will pop up on the right side of the screen. Locate your name and a participant ID next to your name. Key in on your InnoCaption+ app key pad, #(participant ID)# and it will join the two frames.