Wearing a face mask while wearing hearing aids presents many challenges. Not only do they hinder communication, but there is also the issue of dislodging and potentially losing your devices.
Wearing a face mask in public has become increasingly common and now is mandatory on public transport, in shops and in other public spaces in England. It has been clearly demonstrated that people with hearing loss have found it increasingly challenging to communicate with others as the use of masks grows as they decrease the ability for speak to be understood and remove the visual cues that many people with hearing loss often rely on.
We are becoming increasingly aware, as we receive calls from our patients, that this isn’t the only challenge individuals with hearing loss face. The most common style of face mask, the ones with over-the-ear loops, is putting hearing aid wearers at risk of misplacing their behind-the-ear devices when they become entangled when putting on and taking off their masks.
As it seems face coverings are going to be part of our lives for the foreseeable future we have pulled together our top 6 tips to help you overcome these new challenges.
1. While this may seem obvious the first piece of advice we can give is BE AWARE.
Understanding that there is a risk of displacing your hearing aid is key to taking extra care when putting on or removing a mask.
2/3. Tips two and three are to BE CAREFUL when putting on your mask and ALWAYS CHECK. Get in to the habit of checking to see if your hearing aid is in place after putting on or removing a mask. It will be far easier to find a dislodged one if you realise immediately it has fallen off.
4. As demonstrated in the graphic below (put together by our friends at hearing aid manufacturer Starkey), it shows ways that you can AVOID PUTTING LOOPS AROUND YOUR EARS in the first place.
5. Should you be unfortunate enough to dislodge an aid the next tip is DON'T PANIC. A methodical search is far more likely to help you find it. Zone off areas where it is most likely you lost your hearing aid and take your time and be patient.
6. Finally, make sure that your hearing system is named and covered under your HOUSEHOLD INSURANCE. You know you have made a significant investment in your hearing health so treat them as you would any other precious and valuable item.
We hope these simple ideas will help you manage the new reality that we all face, but be assured if you have any difficulty, or unexpectedly find yourself without your hearing system we are here for you.