Miami-Dade and surrounding counties have officially entered phase 3 of reopening amid the Coronavirus pandemic. One of the main adjustments people have made to their everyday lives during the pandemic is wearing a face mask. Although face masks help to slow transmission of the virus, they hinder communication for people with hearing loss. Fortunately, according to the Miami Dade Emergency Order, as of October 6th, face masks are no longer required to be worn by people who are hearing impaired or people who are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired. However, for protection against the virus many people are still opting to wear a face mask, especially when in public places, which does not eliminate the communication obstacle for the hearing impaired community.
Up to 30% of understanding comes from visual cues. For someone with hearing loss, those visual cues become even more important. For example, some hearing loss sufferers practice lip or speech reading during conversation. Unfortunately, this is impossible when someone is wearing a face mask. Face masks also create a sound barrier that can muffle speech which makes it even harder for those with hearing loss to hear someone speaking to them. This gets worse in noisy environments or if the speaker is farther away or facing the person with hearing loss. A common solution for these obstacles is for those who regularly communicate with someone with hearing loss to wear transparent face masks or a face shield. For hearing loss patients, it is important to inform others about your hearing loss and ask that they face you and speak up and clearly during conversation.
In addition to having more people choose transparent face masks, it is important that those suffering from hearing loss get proper treatment for their condition. Getting the right hearing aids for your hearing loss can drastically improve your hearing and overall quality of life, especially during this unprecedented time. Hearing aids not only allow you to hear more sounds, they also improve the quality of those sounds. More particularly, digital hearing aids are known to produce clarity in speech, which will make conversations better and easier for those with hearing loss. The benefits of digital hearing aids also include Bluetooth connectivity, smart phone apps that allow your doctor to assist you and adjust your hearing aids remotely, and long-lasting rechargeable batteries.
We have been socially distant, but this does not mean we need to emotionally isolate. Hearing aids now more than ever are making the conversations and interactions we have needed and missed accessible again and they are within your reach. For more tips or assistance on navigating the COVID-19 pandemic with hearing loss, feel free to reach out to the experts at New Generation Hearing Centers. We are open and ready to serve you with CDC guidelines in place.