Best practices for setting up and running a Teams meeting or Live event for the deaf and hard of hearing

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When setting up and running Microsoft Teams meetings and live events, it's important to be aware of best practices in making sure your content is accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing. Features such as live captions and choosing a clear background are important for making sure everyone can participate equally.

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Enable live captions

Microsoft Teams can detect what’s said in a meeting and offer real-time captions. Live captions can make your meeting more inclusive to participants who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, people with different levels of language proficiency, and participants in loud places by giving them another way to follow along.

To enable live captions:

  • In a Microsoft Teams meeting, go to your meeting controls and select More options > Turn on live captions (preview).

  • In a live event, follow the instructions given in Organizers: set up live captions.

For more information on live captions, see Use live captions in a Teams meeting and Use live captions in a live event.

Choose a clear background

If participants or presenters in your meeting or live event will be signing, it is important to make sure their backgrounds are kept as clear as possible to make sure all gestures are easy to make out. Avoid blurring the background, as this can make gestures blurred out as well, or obstruct body language that would help others to follow along with what's being discussed.

For more information on changing or blurring backgrounds, see Change your background for a Teams meeting.

Best practices for participants

When participating in a Microsoft Teams meeting or live event with other participants or presenters who are deaf or hard of hearing, there are some simple tips to keep in mind to make the experience accessible, enjoyable, and productive for everyone.

  • Turn on video when speaking to allow deaf participants to read lips.

    Tip: To toggle video on or off, press Ctrl+Shift+O.

  • Mute your audio when not speaking to avoid unnecessary background noise.

    Tip: To toggle mute on or off, press Ctrl+Shift+M.

  • Avoid multiple people taking the floor at once and signal speaker changes clearly.

  • Identify yourself before commenting to make discussions easier to follow without sound cues.

  • Speak slowly and clearly.

Record and share meetings

Recording a meeting and being able to share the recording is especially important so all participants are able to review what was being discussed and to go over specific segments that they might have missed the first time. Make sure that any recordings of the meeting or event have accurate and time-synced closed captions.

For more information on recording meetings and events, see Record a meeting in Teams and Manage a live event recording and reports in Teams.

See also

Accessibility support for Microsoft Teams

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Teams

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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