Healthy Aging

Hearing Aids and Masks

People with hearing loss should take extra steps to ease the added social isolation caused by wearing masks, according to one published report.

This September (Deaf Awareness Month) during the pandemic, these tips from are particularly relevant.  Nearly 25 percent of those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of those who are 75 and older have disabling hearing loss (according to estimates by the National Institute on Deafness and other Hearing Disorders). Wearing a mask makes lip-reading impossible, can block hearing aids and muffles speaking voices – so it’s important for the hard-of-hearing to overcome any embarrassment and speak up. Their tips can help:

Have hearing loss?

Tell others ahead of time or give them a note. Speak up!
Ask them to put anything detailed in writing as well
Find a quieter place to talk (in restaurants, ask your server to move you). 

Wear a hearing aid?

Make sure your hearing aid is clean and working properly
Check the batteries. Are they fully charged?
Does your mask cover your hearing aids? (Try a tie-up mask rather than one that loops behind ears, where some hearing aids sit.)
Look for an extender for your masks so they loop behind your head and not behind your ears.

Talking to someone with a hearing disorder?

Speak loud and clear.
Talk far from crowds or traffic. In restaurants, don’t sit near the kitchen. 
Ask how they wish to communicate.
Offer to follow up with a written note or text.
Use body language when appropriate – thumbs up or down, point, nod. 
Don’t rely on just saying their name to get their attention.

Want more info?  Read the full article here.


Photo: Rawpixel for Unsplash



5 responses to “Hearing Aids and Masks

  1. I have hearing aids. AND masks. They DO NOT do well together! I have the around the ear type. I have difficulty keeping them in sight especially when I take the mask off. EXTREME CAUTION VITAL. I wonder if the in-the-ear aids are as good? If they are, I’d recommend them in these times. My lip reading was playing a much more vital role l than I realized!

  2. Thanks for covering such a difficult topic. The tips are very general, and don’t cover the broad range of the different kinds of hearing loss–that’s disappointing to see.

    One excellent tool is a smartphone with a good real time speech-to-text transcription app, such as Highly recommended.

Leave a Reply

Senior Planet’s comments are open for all readers/subscribers; we love hearing from you! However, some comments are not welcome here as violations of our Comment Policy. If you would like to express a comment about Senior Planet locations or programs, please contact [email protected].

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *