During this time when many people are wearing face masks, individuals with hearing loss can really be at a disadvantage.
Many individuals with hearing loss depend on facial cues or lip-reading techniques to help aid in understanding. Hearing well in background noise is already a struggle, but now that your face is covered, it can be twofold. Individuals are bound to get frustrated as communication can become compromised due to these changes. Just know that you’re not in this alone. This is certainly not going to be an easy task, but you can get through this by following some simple tips to aid you in understanding.
A familiar speaker could be handy to help relay the message (Just don’t depend on them all the time).
If you are not communicating with a familiar speaker, this is the time to be assertive. Say “Excuse me, I have hearing loss. Can you please speak slower and slightly louder?”
Even further, if needed, restructure your sentences. For example, someone says to you “”I’m going to the doctor at 4.” All you hear is “”Going…doctor at…” Instead of saying “huh” or “what”, you can restructure your sentence to ask “What time are you going to the doctor?”
If you don’t utilize hearing aids and are struggling to understand, you can talk to your audiologist about ways you can potentially amplify conversations in noise or one-on-one. A device called a Pocket-talker may come in handy to help amplify voices when facial cues are not present.
For those with hearing aids, a remote microphone may be beneficial during these times. Some aids that connect via Bluetooth to your cell phone may also have a microphone feature available.
I hope this provided you with some helpful tips to more easily understand conversations during this time when we all are wearing face masks. Stay safe and well!
For more hearing resources, please visit our Hearing Aid Services page. For more helpful tips and tools, visit Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center’s YouTube channel.
Blog written by Alyse Stempel, Au.D., CCC-A. Dr. Stempel is an Audiologist at Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center.