Face masks are now required in many public places to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As wearing masks and other facial coverings become the “new normal” during the COVID-19 event around the world, learning how to better communicate while wearing masks is imperative. This is especially true for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Normally we recommend that when speaking to someone who is hearing impaired, do no cover your face. But now everyone is being encouraged to wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus. This is a unique challenge to overcome for those with hearing loss. Wearing a facial covering makes speech harder to hear and it also reduces the visual nonverbal cues and facial expressions that hearing-impaired persons depend on.
We will all need to work harder to replace those nonverbal signals that so many depend on to facilitate better communication and understanding. We will need to be more patient when communicating with others. Right now, we are all experiencing what it is like to not hear as well as we would like to.
Masks and Hearing Aids
For those folks who wear hearing aids, getting a mask to fit properly over their ears and not interfere with their hearing aids is a challenge. And even worse, removing the mask and not getting it tangled up with hearing aids is even more of a challenge.
The over-the-ear face mask, the most common style, puts hearing aid wearers at risk for losing their behind-the-ear hearing aids when they become entangled upon removal. Sometimes it is the children’s game, “Barrel of Monkeys.” It is easy to lose a hearing aid while removing a mask. Be particularly mindful while removing masks and your hearing aids.
Lost Hearing Aids
If you have lost a hearing aid while removing a mask, you are not alone. It can happen so quickly that it’s unnoticeable, and like an earring, can be easy to lose. We have seen an uptick in people contacting HearSource regarding lost hearing aids.
Many of the people who contacted us about this had their hearing aid fall off when removing masks. Fortunately, we have options to help. Depending on your hearing aid’s model, you may be able to locate it through an app or possibly replace it through your warranty.