TLDR: Our Ear Gear Corded models have been proven to help prevent you from losing your hearing aids when removing your mask. The sleeve attaches to your hearing aid and clips to your shirt so that if (or when) your hearing falls off when removing your face mask, it will dangle harmlessly from your shirt instead of falling and getting lost or damaged. We have a model for every size hearing instrument - Shop our Ear Gear Corded collection now.
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 prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic by practicing social distancing and wearing a face mask in public. However, as you've no-doubt seen, wearing a face mask does present some challenges for hearing aid users, especially if you're a hearing aid wearer using over-the-ear hearing aids or cochlear implants.
The Challenge with wearing a face mask with hearing aids
Wearing a face mask with hearing aids is difficult because it's harder to understand people when they're wearing a face mask, and the ear loops on your own face mask can pull on your hearing aids or get in the way of your hearing aid, which can be uncomfortable. To make matters worse, there's a real risk of knocking your hearing instrument off your head when you remove your face mask.
If you also wear glasses as well, then you have glasses, hearing aids, and a face mask attached to your head - that's a lot of stuff and comes with a lot of challenges!
If you do a quick Google search, you'll see a lot of tips for wearing a face mask with hearing aids from hearing experts on how to hear more clearly when you and your loved ones are wearing a mask, and how to keep your hearing aids comfortable and protected against loss.
Some of the suggestions are pretty crafty - for instance, sewing two 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 face masks are worn to using certain smart phone apps to help turn speech into text.
5 Tips for Wearing A Face Mask with Hearing Aids
Talk to your Audiologist
The first thing you probably noticed is that when the people around you are wearing face masks, their speech is slightly more garbled and you generally can't see their lips, which can make it more challenging to hear them. Before trying a bunch of new tricks to see what works, pick up the phone can call your audiologist.
Your audiologist helped you find the right hearing instrument for you, and they may be able to assist you with configuring your hearing aid to perform better when you and those around you are wearing masks. Some of the newer models of hearing aids even have a "Face Mask" mode that is pre-configured to help you understand folks that are talking with face masks. They talk to other hearing aid wearers all day long, so they've very likely run across the exact issue that you're experiencing.
Be careful when taking masks on and off when wearing a hearing aid.
The feedback we've received from our customers that wear hearing aids is that is can be extremely easy for your hearing instrument to fall off when putting on or taking off your face mask, so don't rush it. Take your time and make sure that your hearing aid stays safe and secure on your ear - there's nothing worse than a lost hearing aid!
Use a Mask Extender
Making a mask extender is a great (and creative) way to get your face mask to fit snugly without interfering with your hearing aids (or glasses, for that matter). Here are some creative mask extenders that we've run across:
- Use a piece of plastic or fabric with buttons or notches to attach the mask straps to
- Use a plastic s-hook
- Use a ponytail as a loop anchor
Ask those close to you to wear clear face masks.
Now that we're almost a year into the Covid-19 Pandemic, there are more and more options and variations of face masks on the market. In order to help with some of the communication difficulty that arises with solid face masks, 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 is an easy and cheap way to improve your communication right off the bat.
Grab a Corded Ear Gear.
Our corded models are designed to keep your hearing aid from getting lost. And in this case, it will help keep your hearing aid attached to your body if they fall out of your ear when removing your face mask. If you don't already know about Ear Gear, it's a spandex sleeve that slides over your hearing instrument, protecting it from moisture and dirt, and minimizing 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 size hearing instrument or implant, 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.