Governments and health officials around the world are working to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. Two management methods you’ve likely heard of are social distancing, and using facemasks when out in public.
As the global pandemic has spread, scientists have worked tirelessly to improve our understanding of the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”)… even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.”
It is for this reason that the CDC has advised Americans to wear facemasks.
Health officials have advised the use of face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19. For people with a hearing loss, face masks are an obstacle. Using face masks presents unique challenges, such as:
The inability to read lips – Reading lips can make communication far easier. By obstructing visibility of the mouth, face masks make this impossible. Fortunately, there are increasing calls for more transparent masks on the market!
Inability to see the full face – Like being able to read lips, seeing someone’s face plays a role in communication. Often, much of what we “say” is through non-verbal cues. For people with a hearing loss, these cues are an important component of the conversation. Face masks make these visual cues more difficult to see.
Alongside using face masks, we’re being advised to maintain social distance. This presents another challenge for people with hearing loss. Distance makes hearing more challenging – particularly in noisier environments.
If you wear hearing aid devices, you may have already experienced some unique challenges with a face mask. More people are losing their hearing aid devices, audiologists report. The challenges with wearing a hearing aid and a face mask are being blamed. Face mask strings getting tangled in the hearing aid device is a leading reason. When people remove their face mask, their tangled hearing aid goes flying.
It’s important that you continue to wear your hearing aid devices, even during this pandemic. To help keep your hearing aid devices safe, remember to:
Remove your mask at home – This way, if it falls off, it is in a safe location.
Check your hearing aids are still there – After removing your mask, check your devices are still in place.
Practice taking your mask on and off – Practice removing your face mask at home. Make sure you’re wearing your hearing aids.
Use a headband – Avoid strings on your face mask and opt for a headband with buttons.
Tie long hair back – Don’t give your hearing aid or face mask one more thing to tangle in. Tie back long hair.
Go for 4 strings – Rather than use a face mask with an elastic band, go for one with four strings. This way, you can tie them behind your head.
Keep the conversation flowing with these face mask communication tips:
Perhaps the most important communication tip, is to wear your hearing aid. Your hearing aids are important. And it’s important that you are able to wear them. Our tips above should help give you confidence to wear your hearing aids and face mask. If you have further questions, please contact the hearing specialists at Come Hear Hearing Center. Click here to request an appointment online, or call our team on