Yoga and exercise are an important part of my daily routine. Almost every morning I hit my mat for a heart pumping HIIT (high intensity interval training) class or a rejuvenating yoga practice. On my best days, I follow this up with a short meditation. I used to take these classes in a studio and developed a method for practicing yoga with a hearing loss, but when the pandemic hit, I needed to develop a new formula.
The fitness industry also needed to adapt. Many studios and gyms moved their offerings online. Individual instructors also set up shop on the Internet, leading classes over Zoom and creating YouTube channels. All this variety is good news for students of any level.
Online Fitness Classes Provide Unique Opportunities for People with Hearing Loss
The greater availability of classes is good news for all fitness enthusiasts. It is easier to take a class that works with your schedule or try something new from the safety of our own home. But perhaps this is even better news for people with hearing loss who are sometimes reluctant to try a group class for fear they won’t be able to follow along.
Now that nobody is watching – there is no better time to start or enhance your fitness routine. Mine helps me better embrace the frustrations of hearing loss and keeps me healthy so I can better cope with listening fatigue.
Online offerings are likely here to stay post-pandemic. They take two primary forms: live-streamed classes and on-demand videos.
Join a Live-Streamed Fitness Class
Live-streamed classes are held on Zoom in real time. An instructor leads the class and students take it from their homes. It’s like a typical Zoom meeting with each person in their own individual box. You can turn on your video so the teacher can see your efforts or keep it off for privacy. To get the most out of the class try the following tips:
1. Use speaker mode
To get a clear view of the teacher – they usually demonstrate as they teach – set your screen to speaker mode. This will enlarge the teacher’s video making it easier to see. You can pin the teacher’s window to keep it visible throughout the class.
2. Choose a class with little or no music.
Some in-person classes have a booming soundtrack, while others feature light musical accompaniment. Online, it will be easier to find a class with the right ratio of music to dialogue because everyone is struggling to hear the teacher’s instruction. For most online classes, the music is set to a reasonable level and the teachers wear microphones to aid with audio quality.
Experiment with a few classes to find the ones that are easiest for you to follow. A lot may depend on the instructor’s voice and speaking style too.
3. Stream the class directly to your devices
If you can stream movies from your computer, you can stream an exercise class too. Connect via Bluetooth and bring the teacher’s words directly into your devices. In my experience, Zoom classes are usually not captioned, but as Zoom continues to make its platform more accessible, this feature may be available soon.
Pre-Recorded Classes Have Many Benefits
Our tips for live-streamed classes apply to pre-recorded sessions as well. But pre-recorded classes offer a few additional benefits.
1. Rewind if you miss something
It is easy to be confused by a new yoga posture or to misunderstand the proper form for the latest ab crunch, but if the video is pre-recorded, you can rewind or pause the class anytime you miss something. You can even watch a new class a few times through before taking it to learn the moves.
2. Many videos are captioned
It is rare to find a captioned live class, but on-line there are many – especially on YouTube. If you enjoy yoga, check out Yoga with Adriene’s captioned videos or search for a different style of exercise. Classes of all types are on YouTube and most of them are free.
3. Learn new postures
Video classes are a great way to learn new postures or movements and build your confidence before heading into a live-streamed class or one held in person. Keep this trick in mind as we return to the studio or gym post-pandemic.
Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and a great way to relieve some of the stress of living with hearing loss. I encourage everyone I know to incorporate physical activity into their daily life – hearing loss or not.
Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, and avid Bikram yogi. She is the founder of Living With Hearing Loss, a blog and online community for people living with hearing loss and tinnitus. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues. Connect with Shari: Blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter.