Face Masks Can Disrupt Communication
People with hearing aids often rely on lip-reading and facial expressions to accurately interpret other people’s speech. When their mouths are covered, they remove a critical piece of the puzzle. A lack of communication can cause further isolation in a population that is already experiencing alienation.
Whether you’re hard of hearing or are speaking with someone with hearing loss, be patient while you speak. Use your eyes, eyebrows, and gestures to indicate your meaning if your mouth is covered. You could also learn simple sign language, like the alphabet, to help you communicate with the deaf and hard of hearing.
Some people are even creating face masks with clear plastic panels, though their medical effectiveness has not been tested.
Hearing Aids And Face Masks
Be careful when wearing and removing your face mask. If your mask loops around your ears, you could easily pull out your hearing aids when you take them off. You could also drop your hearing aids, cause damage, or lose them altogether.
Don’t remove your mask until you’re in your care if you’re out and about. Even better, wait to remove your mask until you get home. Have someone help you apply and remove your mask so you can hold your hearing aids in place. Try homemade masks with ties behind the head, won’t damage hearing aids or irritate your skin.
Remember to advocate for yourself, especially if you’re in the hospital. Many hospitals offer interpreter services if you can’t bring your interpreter or a family member. Ask if there are whiteboards available to prevent medical miscommunications.