Face masks have done an excellent job reducing the spread of COVID-19, but they’ve made it a lot harder to hear and communicate. People of all ages and abilities have struggled to enunciate through muffled masks and Plexiglas, and we’ve all spent time guessing at words without the visual cues of facial expressions.
The second you exit the grocery store you reach for your mask to get a breath of fresh air. Without thinking, you flick off your mask’s ear loops and your hearing aid flies off with it. If you’re lucky, you just pick it up and carry on with your day. But there’s a good chance your hearing aid will be damaged in the fall, or tumble down a storm drain, or get crunched under a car tire before you can rescue it.
“Losing your hearing aid is more than just inconvenient, it can be very expensive!” says Hanan Merrill, a hearing practitioner and owner of Nanaimo Hearing Clinic. “Unfortunately there’s no magic solution to the issues surrounding masks and hearing aids. Tiny in-ear hearing aids work for some, but aren’t a great fit for everybody. But I do have a few tips to keep your hearing aids safe.”
3 tips to keep hearing aids safe while wearing a mask
- Slow Down: “This is something I have to tell myself all the time,” Hanan says.Resist the urge to rip off your mask the second you’re in the clear. Take a little extra care and attention around your ears.
- Plan Ahead: Think about the best place to remove your mask. Instead of pulling it off in the parking lot, can you wait until you’re in your car? Then if your hearing aid falls out, at least it’s in a confined space. “Some people have opted for different gear, like a mask that wraps around the head instead of using ear loops. They’re not for everybody, but whatever you choose, have a plan.”
- Protect your investment: “Hearing aids are an investment, and there are ways to insure them against loss or damage,” Hanan says. Your home or tenant’s insurance may already cover your hearing aids, or it may be easy to add them. If you purchased your hearing aids fairly recently, they may still be covered by the manufacturer’s loss and damage warranty.
Better hearing in Nanaimo
Hanan offers free performance reviews of hearing aids and complimentary hearing consultations at the Nanaimo Hearing Clinic. Book an appointment by calling 250-585-4100 or at nanaimohearingclinic.com/contact. Find Nanaimo Hearing Clinic at 501-800 Turner Rd in Cactus Club Plaza.