What are the effects of poor audio?

Having subpar audio quality in online meetings and events may present more problems than you’d think. Not only is it unpleasant and redundant to ask people to repeat themselves over and over again, but you are subconsciously doing more work just to pay attention. In this piece we explore some negative effects of having poor sound quality in online meetings, and we also provide two easy solutions.

3 side effects of poor audio quality

  1. Effortful Listening

If you’ve ever spoken to a “low talker” you may catch yourself leaning forward and making an extra effort to understand what they are saying. This behavior carries over into online meetings as well. Low audio quality in online meetings means that listeners need to put more energy into truly processing what is being said. The term for this is called “effortful listening”, and it can lead to higher stress levels, and reduced memory encoding.

  1. Reduced Focus

Background noise is a common contributor to poor audio within meetings. Our ears naturally focus on whatever is loudest and most consistent sound. If a speaker is being overpowered by their own background noise, participants will have trouble focusing as our ears aren’t great at multitasking. This reduction of focus can also make it more difficult for participants to remember key points of the meeting.

  1. Physiological symptoms

Low quality audio forces your ears and brain to work overtime to listen, process and hold onto information. Not only are you straining to hear what is being said, but your brain is constantly trying to fill in the blanks for words unheard. Activating effortful listening for long periods of time can lead to physical reactions like fatigue and headaches.

What’s the fix?

Audio quality heavily relies on two factors- your audio equipment, and your platform technology.

Audio Equipment

When it comes to audio equipment the solution is easy- wear a headset. More specifically a quality USB headset to ensure connection and quality. Below is a quick cheat sheet:

  • Two earcups plus a built-in microphone and a true USB connector (no adapters).
  • Good around-the-ear coverage on both ears, to prevent leakages into your mic.
  • Frequency response between 100Hz –15,000Hz (both for speakers and the mic).
  • Flexible microphone boom arm that you can bend with your hand, for the right adjustments.
  • In-line mute and volume controls.
  • A device you can wear comfortably for long periods of time.

Platform Technology

Choosing a platform like KUDO that has Hi-Fidelity audio, and audio fallback already integrated into its offer is your best bet to ensure the best audio quality for any meeting or event. KUDO hosts interpreter supported meetings; therefore, audio quality is paramount to us. KUDO’s audio fallback feature prioritizes audio quality over video quality automatically depending on network connectivity. While KUDO’s Hi-Fidelity audio ensures listeners get the best quality audio that is easy on the ears for an extended period of time.

Want to experience our audio quality with your own ears? Schedule a personalized demo and see KUDO in action.

Audio in Virtual Meetings
KUDO logo with text: Town Hall Meetings: How to hosts more inclusive and engaging events - Download White Paper