By Jen Gosett, BS, CTRS, MATP Staff
Recently I attended a professional conference in a facility which was equipped with newer technology. On my registration form, in the accommodations space, I requested in advance that presenters use microphones so that I could hear what they shared. At the conference, no microphones were used. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon experience which I or others have had. Microphones have not typically been used at many of the conferences/events I’ve attended. Years ago, a colleague explained that even when a presenter thinks they are “being loud”, the sound of their voice is coming out of only one source and is not at a constant, even volume. When a typical microphone & sound system is used, the volume of the speaker’s voice is constant/level, and the sound is evenly spread out around the room; making sound more accessible to more people.
Even if someone has not specifically requested that the presenter use a microphone, I usually use one when I am in the presenter role. Hearing loss is much more prevalent than many realize. The Better Hearing Institute provides these statistics regarding hearing loss:
- 3 in 10 people over age 60 have hearing loss;
- 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59), or 14.6%, have a hearing problem;
- 1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40), or 7.4%, already have hearing loss;
- At least 1.4 million children (18 or younger) have hearing problems;
- It is estimated that 3 in 1,000 infants are born with serious to profound hearing loss.
In an article by by Gilda Bonanno, 5 Reasons Why Presenters Won’t Use a Microphone, Bonanno states, “Used well, a microphone can demonstrate that you’re a smart and respectful presenter who cares enough about your audience to use every tool at your disposal to ensure they can hear and understand your presentation.” To me, it just make sense to use a mic! When in a presenter role, I want to know that more people can hear me, rather than question if the information I’ve spent hours putting together is really being received as I intended it to.