Times are changing and it seems that the use of a face mask is here to stay for a while. People with hearing difficulties are struggling with communication and are trying to find ways to adapt. Those with hearing difficultly sometimes depend on lip reading and facial expressions, as the brain compensates for a decrease in hearing by using visual ques. The masks and face shields are also muffling the high frequency sounds that are essential for speech clarity.
If you are experiencing any of these difficulties, you should consider some of the following:
- Don’t be afraid to ask the person for repetition or to speak louder. But if you notice you are asking this too often, you should consider other options.
- Visit a hearing health care professional to have your ears checked and to have a hearing assessment done. The hearing professional could detect earwax or fluid in the ear caused by seasonal allergies or sinus issues that can be treated by your doctor. If the result of the hearing test shows that you would benefit from hearing aids, your Audiologist will discuss the best options to help you.
Tips for hearing aid users:
- Have an annual hearing test done so your hearing professional can adjust your hearing aids accordingly.
- Ask your Audiologist or hearing care professional about creating a specific program for situations where you are communicating with people with masks on.
- Ask your hearing professional about an accessory that can help you, such as an external microphone that is compatible with your hearing aids.
- There are apps to help you communicate by transcribing speech for you.
We understand that communication barriers can be stressful but finding the right solution can significantly improve your day to day life.