Face Coverings Causing Hearing Problems?
By Dr. Brad Stewart, Audiologist
ClearLife Hearing Care, 1150 N. Watters Rd. #150 Allen, TX
With facemasks being the new normal due to COVID19, people with hearing loss are experiencing even more hearing difficulties than normal. Face coverings cause a myriad of issues for those with hearing loss, including:
- Removing facial cues and lipreading ability
- Reduced volume and clarity of speech from the person wearing the mask
- Increase in loss of hearing aids due to elastic bands behind the ears
So what are those with hearing problems and their loved ones to do?
The reality is that it’s a challenging situation, and there is no perfect solution. However, I have a few tips that I’ve shared with patients in my clinic that may be helpful.
If you have hearing loss:
- Speak up for yourself -- let the people you’re talking to know that you have hearing loss and ask them to speak more slowly and clearly
- Make sure you’re wearing hearing aids (if you don’t have hearing aids already, schedule a consultation to discuss options).
If you have a spouse or loved one with hearing difficulty:
- Speak slowly and clearly (don’t shout)
- Rephrase when they don’t understand
- When possible, reduce surrounding noise
- Don’t talk while walking - face each other with full attention
- Make sure they’re wearing their hearing aids
Tips for wearing hearing aids with face coverings:
- Wearing a mask with soft fabric ties to relieve the pressure on the ears, instead of elastic
- Using simple tools like plastic s-hooks to loop the mask onto, instead of your ears