By: Dr. Lynda Klee, Au.D.
Our new normal, for the time being, is wearing masks in public. Many places are requiring them now. This can be difficult for people with hearing impairment and wearing hearing aids.
If you are wearing behind-the-ear hearing aids, you may encounter some problems with masks. One challenge for those wearing hearing aids with a mask is that the mask makes it easier to lose the hearing aids. Another challenge is that the ear loops may tug at the hearing aid. It is also easy to pull your hearing aids out and drop them when removing the mask.
Some tips that may be helpful:
- Wear a mask with soft fabric ties to relieve the pressure on the ears
- Fabric ties may work better with hearing aids
- Use a mask holder or extender with buttons that can be worn near the back of the head and can hold the ear loops
- Using a simple tool like a plastic s-hook to loop the mask onto, instead of your ears
These tips can’t always be followed.
But, if you and your significant other are both wearing masks, make sure your spouse is aware that they must speak slowly and clearly to you. And speak up for yourself, and let others know if you can’t hear well and need them to repeat or speak more slowly.
Another option would be to use a mask with a clear front so that you see visual cues when listening to others. We do have some available for purchase at Ahlberg Audiology. The demand is high, so call ahead to check availability and pick up time. They are handmade by our intern, Tessie, pictured below.
If you are the one speaking to someone with a hearing loss, use other ways to get your point across other than repeating over and over. Body language, eye contact, and slowing down speech are all good ways to be more clear.
If you need us, please call (423) 641-0956.