Hearing aids and face masks

Hearing aids and face masks

September 7, 2021

With the current Covid-19 restrictions requiring us to wear protective face coverings we face another challenge with hearing aids.  For people who wear a hearing device the ear loops on traditional face masks may cause issues with the aid falling off the ears or being flicked off when removing masks. People with hearing loss may also face challenges communicating with others who are wearing a face mask, as they ordinarily rely on lip-reading to understand.

When speaking to someone with a hearing loss we can speak slowly, clearly and at a normal volume. To assist further make sure the person with a hearing loss is wearing the hearing aid and turn the volume up if needed. Wait until the other person has finished before speaking so we allow each other enough time to process what was said.

Remember, that those with hearing loss rely greatly on face-to-face communication and lip reading so wearing a mask takes this away and following conversation is much more difficult.  

If possible, consider using a mask that has a transparent window/shield included so those with a hearing loss can still lip-read in their interactions provided it still gives adequate coverage. Other ways to assist would be reducing or turning off background noise, rephrase rather than repeat what was said and face each other at a safe distance. Remember you can take your mask off when communicating with someone that is “deaf or hard of hearing” however this should only be done when it is safe to do so, other things that could be used is writing the message down or use a translation app on a smartphone or tablet device.

If you find you are struggling to hear people speak through their masks, at Sharon King Hearing we can make adjustments to your hearing aids to enable you to hear speech better.Just make an appointment for this to be done.

When wearing hearing aids with face masks be gentle and slow when removing. Pick a location like in the car or at home to remove the mask (when it is safe to do so) so if the hearing aid does fall out you won’t have as large of an area to look for it.It can be very stressful to look for the hearing aid in a car park or shopping centre.

When removing the mask lift the top strap up and the bottom strap down and pull up and this will move the strap away from the hearing aid and reduces the risk of making the hearing aid fall out. Fabric straps that tie at the back of the head rather than elastic can help as you can loosen these to your preference.


From Sharon King Hearing Centres / Hearing Services Program


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