With the repetition of having to wear masks in public spaces, it may be increasingly uncomfortable or difficult for people with behind-the-ear hearing aids to use face masks on and off. One of the greatest challenges noted is the increased risk of losing a hearing aid or damaging things near the tubing or wire. We understand these difficulties can be frustrating so we have a few tips that can help make wearing hearing aids & face masks simultaneously an easier experience.
Firstly Invest in a Clear Mask
In addition to preventing the spread of this virus, masks hide facial expressions and prevent your ability to lip read, a skill many with hearing loss depend on.
Transparent face protection is a potential solution, but they are open on the bottom & not recommended by the CDC “for regular everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings.”
Instead, these who rely on lip-reading are opting for clear masks or these with a clear panel. A company established in Baltimore in 2017 spent three years in research & development to form a clear material ideal for face masks, as it won’t fog up.
We know that the virus cannot enter plastic or solid materials, so see-through masks provide probably a great option for balancing infection prevention among the desire to be ready to see somebody’s mouth move.”
How to Manage Face Masks and Hearing Loss
1. First & foremost, be patient with yourself, & if someone says something that you can’t know, do not be afraid to challenge them to repeat themselves or explain what they said.
2. Letting the people nearby you know allows for awareness, making it more comfortable for a person to make the necessary arrangements for communication.
3. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, it may be important to state that you are hard of hearing on your face mask. While this idea sways make some uncomfortable, if you are away at a grocery store, it can be essential for the employees to know, so they can make sure they are giving you the support you require if needed.
4. Having a pad and pen/pencil on hand is regularly an excellent backup method for communication. If all else breaks, you can always write it out.
5. While this process isn’t the best for in-depth conversation, if you are looking to hold the conversation short and sweet, this can be an excellent choice. It is also a good way to check the amount of frustration & misunderstanding.
6. Everywhere may not like the face mask idea, but there are different methods you can implement. If you are out in public, & someone tries to communicate with you, plus you are having a hard time understanding them, do not be scared to use hand gestures.
7. Many people get general gestures, so be sure to gesture to your ear to help communicate that you are incapable to hear what they are saying.
8. If you are trying to communicate among a person who is hard of hearing, these tips refer back to you as well. Since many hard of hearing, people rely on visible cues, give a visual cue to let them understand you are trying to speak to them.
9. If you often communicate with individuals with impaired hearing, it might be deserving it to find a mask that has a transparent front so your lips can be read. Don’t be hesitant to speak louder when communicating, you don’t require to yell, but speaking louder than normal can help make up for the face mask stifling your voice.
While Removing Your Mask
While removing your mask, no matter if the elastics are back your ears or in a way mentioned above, always double-check to make sure your hearing aids are still in position as they may come off among mask removal. Another fabulous tip is to check and see if your hearing aid is compatible including a smartphone. If so, it would be helpful to set up the capability to help identify a missing hearing aid in case that occurs.