For the roughly 48 million Americans with hearing loss, communication is challenging enough under the best of circumstances. Meanwhile, the global coronavirus pandemic has created additional unexpected obstacles.
Many hard of hearing individuals rely on lip-reading in order to communicate with others. With local health orders requiring people to wear face masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19, it’s extremely difficult for these individuals to follow conversations. Furthermore, masks muffle speech, and their elastic bands frequently dislodge hearing devices.
One novel solution addresses the very source of the problem: face masks. Transparent see-through masks that offer full-face visibility via a protective plastic panel allow people to read lips, bridging the gap between communication and protection.
Regular hearing aid use can also help minimize communication problems by amplifying muffled speech and reducing background noise. Hearing aid users continue to wear their devices daily. Those who haven’t purchased hearing aids should consider trying a pair to experience the difference.
Finally, for those struggling with the combination of mask straps and hearing aids, masks that go around the head instead of over the ears are a simple solution. People are also encouraged to check and make sure their devices are in place anytime they put on, take off or adjust their mask.
If you’re struggling to communicate due to COVID-19 requirements, contact your hearing health provider for solutions.