Wearing face masks … what was once typically for construction workers or people working in the medical field, has now become commonplace for almost everyone. While masks may help slow the spread of Covid-19, their use poses challenges for the hearing impaired. Hearing loss and face masks have proved to be a tricky combination!
Hearing Loss and Face Masks: Problems vs. Solutions
Even as much of our country continues to re-open, it looks like face masks will be around for a while. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges of combining hearing loss and face masks and what can be done to help make things a little easier.
Problem: Putting on and taking off a mask interferes with hearing aids.
Solution: Instead of ripping your face mask off quickly, put it on and remove it very slowly and carefully. This will help prevent it from accidentally pulling out your hearing aids. Also, try using a face mask with fabric ties instead of elastic loops. Since they attach at the back of the head vs. going around the ear, they may not be as likely to get tangled up with your hearing aids.
Problem: It’s hard to hear others speaking when they are wearing a mask.
Solution: First, if you have hearing aids, make sure you are wearing them and that the volume is turned up. Then, ask others to speak slowly and clearly to help you be able to understand what they’re saying. If possible, move to an area with less background noise and directly face the person with whom you are conversing.
Problem: You have difficulty understanding your doctor.
Solution: It’s very important that you understand your medical care and any recommendations that your doctor or audiologist has for you. Make a point of telling your doctor that you have hearing loss. By doing this, you are alerting them that they may need to communicate differently to make sure you understand.
Instead of only relying on your hearing, ask for a written summary of your visit, including any recommendations or follow up appointments needed. In some areas, you may be able to have a family member listen in or participate in your doctor’s appointment via video. By taking part in your care, they can also help with any communication difficulties.
Problem: You aren’t able to use visual cues to complement your hearing.
Solution: Even if you don’t have hearing loss, you may not have noticed how much you previously read people’s lips or used visual cues until they were wearing a mask! If turning up your hearing aids, asking people to speak louder, or using hand gestures doesn’t help enough, you may be able to remove your masks if you’re within a safe distance from each other.
Don’t put off getting hearing loss treatment
If hearing loss and face masks pose a challenge for you, it’s especially important to not delay hearing loss treatment. We don’t know how long wearing masks will be the standard protocol, so why not enjoy better hearing NOW instead of waiting for later?
Schedule an appointment for a hearing test today. Our audiologists are happy to complete a thorough hearing evaluation and then make recommendations for the healthy hearing solution that makes the most sense for YOU.