Hi folks, Dr Shelly Cristobal back again to talk to you about the challenges that masks are presenting for folks with hearing loss.
We’ve had lots of complaints from patients about the various challenges brought on using masks on a regular basis. It is important to use a mask if you are going to be in a crowded setting or unable to engage in social distancing.
Keeping your air from reaching the people around you helps to protect everyone. We are, however, finding that people with hearing loss have a much harder time understanding speech when they are unable to see others’ mouths. We have also had a significant increase in the number of lost hearing aids, due to the masks going over the ears.
One of the most common masks for seeing is the paper surgical mask. To put them on properly you should not touch the mask itself, but touch the ear loops. Place it over your nose and wrap it around your ears, then tuck it under your chip. The last step is to form the wire over the nose to a snug fit. That part makes a big difference in effectiveness and comfort!
With removing masks, however, we are seeing hearing aids go missing. We have some attachments that allow you to connect the ear loops behind the neck and away from the ears. This helps to prevent the hearing aids from falling off and getting lost as easily.
We also see quite a few of the clinical grade N95 masks around. They work the same way, fitting over the nose and under the chin. To be effective they need to fit properly and have good contact all the way around.
Your nose does have to be covered! Masks don’t do you any good if your nose is hanging out! We want to cover the nose and wrap behind the ears. Or as I shared in my last video, you can take a simple craft pipe cleaner.
Loop it around one of those ear pieces, give it a twist and run it behind the neck. Just like with the more structure ear saver tool. It’s easier for people with challenging dexterity and it’s simple to use.
Keeping masks away from hearing aids can be such a huge help!
Up next, we have my preferred option, tie masks. Masks that you tied around the neck and can flip up over the nose and head will fit the face just like those surgical masks. That way nothing is on the ears. This is what I tend to be using if i’m going to the supermarket or outside church.
For folks who are really at the community level, the masks that are specifically made for that aren’t necessarily the only option. I’ve taken to using a headband a headband around the neck, and then if i’m out walking the trails or exploring outside but going to end up closer to a group of people, it’s easily accessible to cover the face and get where I need to go.
I’m finding my kids or tolerating this type much more easily than the traditional masks. And it’s also an adequate sneeze guard for community level engagement.
We want our loved ones to be able to talk to us. Masks with a window allow for visual cues to be maintained while maintaining safe coverage of the face. You’re able to see my speech cues and understand my speech more easily. Than, when I was wearing a traditional mask.
These come in models that do go around the ears, as well as models that tie over the head. And we currently have this model on our website.
Your your lips are right up against it, which really helps with comfort. And again it’s using those strings so that folks who were have hearing loss, use hearing aids and are also talking to other people who have hearing loss have that help.
On our website we have a new online store available on our “Contact Us” page. There’s an “HHCS To Go” button and we do have these masks with windows as well as Ear Savers to help keep everybody functioning and communicating as easily as possible.
Our offices open and we are available with lots of new safety processes and protocols. We’re here to help. If you need help with your hearing, please give us a call.