March 03, 2022
World Hearing Day Press Release
Taskforce on Distance Interpreting

During the Covid-19 pandemic, recourse to multilingual videoconferencing provided the only means by which international organisations and other stakeholders could adequately maintain governance and business continuity. 


However, on World Hearing Day, the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) draws attention to the fact that this has come at great cost to the health of conference interpreters servicing those meetings, many of whom are now suffering an array of serious auditory health conditions, including severe tinnitus and acute hyperacusis, as well as other medical complaints. 


The cause of such auditory health conditions increasingly appears to be the defective sound generated during such online videoconferences, for which there are multiple sources: first and foremost, the substandard equipment used by participants and the audio processing performed by the videoconferencing systems and platforms, in particular dynamic range compression and background noise suppression.  


As a consequence, the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) calls upon all relevant stakeholders, including simultaneous interpreting delivery platforms, international organisations, the event industry, meeting organisers and participants, to ensure that microphones of the requisite quality are used by all participants and that videoconferencing platforms make high-quality sound settings available to all users by default. 


AIIC, for its part, is conducting comprehensive microphone testing with a view to drawing up a full list of affordable microphones for participants that meet the essential quality requirements and are free of digital processing. The list will shortly be published on AIIC’s website.