Covid-19 has meant we’ve had to make numerous changes to our daily lives. Social distancing, wearing face masks, and singing happy birthday as we wash our hands are just a few!
Since our reopening, we’ve been chatting to lots of our wonderful clients about how they’re finding the new measures. Many have reported that wearing face masks can be a bit of a challenge, especially when suffering from hearing loss or wearing a hearing aid.
We know that many of you are finding it increasingly difficult to hear others when they’re wearing a mask. As well as this, we realise if you’re a hearing aid wearer just how frustrating wearing mask elastics around your ears can be.
Here are a few tips that we hope help you tackle some of the issues you might find when wearing a mask.
Avoid around the ear elastics
Our main tip would be to avoid masks with around the ear elastics. Many hearing aid wearers have reported that it’s near on impossible to remove a face mask without rearranging, removing or getting tangled with their hearing aids.
This doesn’t have to be the case, though. Although around the ear elastics are the standard fitting for most masks, there are lots of alternatives for you to try.
One option is a mask where the elastics run behind your head and avoid the behind-the-ear area. This type of mask will be easier to remove with hearing aids to avoid pulling them out or perhaps losing them altogether. Many people also find these more comfortable and a better fit too, as they aren’t tugging on your ears.
If you’ve already got a perfectly good mask with behind the ear straps, there’s a solution for you too. A “mask holder or extender” is worn near the back of your head and holds in place the ear loops so that they don’t interfere with your hearing aids. These can be easily found online on websites such as Amazon, a quick Google search of “face mask holder” or “face mask extender” will bring up lots of options.
Communicating with a mask
Conversations whilst wearing a mask aren’t easy. Often, your speech can become muffled or be unclear to others. If you’re experiencing hearing loss, chances are you’ll notice this even more!
If you’re talking to someone with hearing loss, whilst wearing a mask, try to have a conversation somewhere with minimal background noise. Often, a person with hearing loss will find it harder to hear in situations with lots of background noise, so reducing this is key.
If they ask you to repeat what you said, try rephrasing, as this could help your friend better understand. You should also try to speak slowly and as clearly as possible. Avoid shouting, as this is unlikely to help. It’d be more effective for you to signal, or use your hands to reinforce what you’re saying.
If you’re struggling to hear somebody while speaking with a mask, don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat what they said, or to speak more clearly. We’re all adjusting to our new way of life together, so we’re sure they’ll be understanding!