At Ear Gear, we know that we have the best customers. It doesn't surprise us at all you all are banding together to help stop the spread of Covid-19 by practicing social distancing and wearing face masks out in public. However, face masks do present some challenges for hearing aid users, especially if you're using over-the-ear hearing aids or cochlear implants.
The bands on the face mask that keep the mask in place can also get in the way of your hearing instrument and cause discomfort. Furthermore, there's a real risk of knocking your hearing instrument off your head when you remove your face mask.
If you do a quick Google search, you'll see a lot of suggestions from hearing experts on how to keep your hearing aids comfortable and protected against loss. Some of the suggestions are pretty crafty - for instance, sewing buttons into a headband and hooking the face mask around the buttons instead of your ears. Some are more simple, like using a paperclip to attach the mask straps to each other. Some people are suggesting that you ditch the mask entirely and use a scarf or handkerchief. In fact, the Center for Hearing and Communication put together a list of 10 tips for managing face masks and hearing loss, which covers everything from carrying a sign that indicates that you may have trouble hearing well when masks are work to using certain smart phone apps to help turn speech into text.
Here are a few tips that we'd like to add to the mix:
1) Be careful when taking masks on and off.
The feedback we're receiving from our customers is that is can be extremely easy for your hearing instrument to fall off when putting on or taking off your facemask, so don't rush it. Take your time and make sure that your hearing instrument stays safe and secure.
2) Ask those close to you to wear clear face masks.
There are some clear face masks out there, and it may be worth it to ask close friends, coworkers, or family members to pick one up so that it's easier to see their lips when they're talking. This can help with alleviate some of the communication difficulty that arises with solid face masks.
3) Grab a Corded Ear Gear.
Our corded models are designed to keep your hearing instrument from getting lost. If you don't know about Ear Gear, it's a spandex sleeve that slides over your hearing instrument, protecting it from moisture and dirt, and it also minimizes wind noise. The corded version attaches to your shirt to prevent the hearing instrument from falling too far if it does come loose. Ear Gear comes in many different models and fits just about any hearing instrument, and it's the perfect solution to alleviate the fears you may have of losing your hearing instrument.
From all of us at Ear Gear, we hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy during this time.