Tips for Wearing Hearing Aids With a Face Mask
Wearing hearing aids and masks simultaneously can present several challenges for the wearer. Now that face masks are a mandatory requirement in public spaces to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, it seems to be an avoidable situation for some. While compulsory masks can make things more difficult for people with hearing aids, there are some tips and recommendations available to make the process a little smoother.
Challenges of Wearing Masks with Hearing Aids
Individuals compelled to wear a mask and a hearing aid at the same time are generally faced with two major complications:
· Communication becomes more difficult when wearing a face mask
· Face masks with ear loops can present problems when being removed
Having a conversation with another person while you are both wearing masks is strenuous enough even without the consideration of hearing loss. Not being able to see another person’s mouth when they are talking can be tricky even for individuals with perfect hearing. People affected by hearing loss often become even more reliant on lip movements for better comprehension.
Ear Loop Face Masks
The most common and practical type of face mask readily available for the purposes of preventing the spread of infection is typically fitted with ear loops for easy donning. This can pose a problem for people with hearing aids when removing this type of mask. It is in some ways similar to the challenge of wearing hearing aids with eye glasses but significantly more problematic. Aside from complications with mask removal, face masks with ear loops can also cause irritations while being worn with hearing aids.
Recommendations for Wearing Face Masks with Hearing Aids
There are many suggested practices that can help ease the burden and hindrances of having to wear a face mask with your hearing aids.
Some helpful tips include:
· Remove your mask slowly and carefully
· Masks with ear loops should be pulled up instead of forward for removal to prevent snagging
· Always check to make sure your hearing aid is still intact after removing the mask
· Masks with ties instead of loops may be safer and more practical
· Masks holders can also be worn to keep loops off the back of the ear
· Contact a hearing professional for tips on best mask type for your specific hearing aid
Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids
This style of hearing aid may be the most challenging when worn in congruence with a face mask. It is not recommended to wear an ear loop mask without a mask holder with behind-the-ear hearing aids to keep the strings away from the device. Masks that tie around the back of the neck or neck gaiters may also be a viable solution.
For People with Long Hair
Long hair can add further complications to the hearing aid plus mask dilemma, but it can also work in your favor to keep ear loops off the back of the ears. Typing your hair in a pony tail or bun can serve as an anchor for ear loops, keeping them away from hearing aids.
Mask Extenders and Ear Gear
There are several options for employing mask extenders to keep ear loops off the back of the ear. Button or strap extenders are available depending on your preference. A simple tool like a plastic S-hook will also serve the purpose.
Ear Gear hearing aid covers can also be very helpful when wearing a mask. They are form fitting spandex sleeves that slide right over your hearing aid, providing an extra layer of comfort and protection.
Assistance From a Hearing Professional
Consulting a hearing professional, like the experts at Hear at Home, can be extremely useful to determine the best course of action for your particular situation. Hearing professionals can assist with hearing aids and assistive listening devices to optimize your hearing capability.
Communication Tips for Hearing Aids with Face Masks
Whether you are wearing hearing aids or communicating with a person with a hearing aid device, there are some simple practices to make the exchange easier.
· Speak slowly and clearly at a normal volume
- Avoid raising the volume of your voice in an attempt to be heard
· Wait your turn to speak to avoid interruptions
· Rephrase comments if they are not understood initially
· Speak face to face at a safe distance
· Try to avoid environments with a lot of background noise