I recently just started working full time at a large company after graduating college. At my company, we have hubs in two locations so it's not uncommon that whenever we have meetings, there's a bridge line set up for people who aren't on location that they can phone into and join in the meeting.
So far, I haven't had to directly speak or actively listen to the people on these calls but just from listening, I have absolutely no idea what they're saying; it really just sounds like garbled noise to me. I can maybe figure out a couple of words but by the time I manage to parse those words, I lose a lot of context. It doesn't matter if that speaker is fluent or has an accent (though if they do have one, I have an even more difficult time listening), I feel really hindered by this mode of communication. Right now, I have no need to utilize conference calls but I have been in several meetings already with bridge lines, and I know in the future I probably will have to participate in such things.
My question is what are some tips I can utilize that can help me with communicating with people when meetings take place over conference calls? I fear coming off as rude to ask people to repeat themselves, especially because I know that I won't be able to get the full message through one repeat alone. Right now, I'm sitting here dumbfounded as to how people are carrying on professional conversation with people over these calls when I can barely make out what they're saying.
To clarify, I'm not legally deaf or anything; I'm the type of person that would prefer to watch movies/shows with subtitles (even if it's in my native language) because if I don't, I miss out on 80% of the dialogue. I place partial blame of my hearing on the fact that I blasted music through my earphones as a teenager.
EDIT: the situation of conference calls I'm referring to is sitting in a meeting room with a speaker in the center that people can phone into and from there, they can listen in on discussions as well as make statements. There are no headphones to utilize as its pretty much broadcasted openly into the room.