If you wear hearing aids, the latest command from the Victorian Government will no doubt have you feeling anxious. Not only can wearing a face mask feel like an inconvenience when the deaf and hard of hearing community rely on facial expressions to hear and understand others, but it can also contribute to the loss of hearing aids when removing the mask once safely at home.
To assist you with these lifestyle adjustments, we have developed suggestions on how to safely wear a face mask with your hearing aids. Please bear in mind that these changes are temporary in response to the pandemic. Feel free to reach out to us if you are feeling particularly overwhelmed.
The important thing is to take it one day at a time until you are confident enough to wear your hearing aids and face mask together.
Managing hearing aids and wearing a face mask
Dealing with hearing loss and needing to wear a mask while wearing hearing aids can be challenging. It becomes particularly cumbersome when you wear the most popular style of hearing aids that fit behind the ears, rather than inside your ear canal.
With a mask that has loops on the side, it can not only feel uncomfortable but you can run the risk of losing your hearing aids or getting them entangled in the loops when you do take off the mask.
What’s a hearing aid wearer to do? Fortunately, there are many solutions. We’ll list them below.
1. Use your hair as the anchor
If you have long hair, tie it up in a high ponytail or a bun. You can then tie the mask loops around your ponytail or bun.
2. Wear a mask with fabric tie-back instead of loops
Instead of elastic loops, try to find a mask that is made with thick yet soft fabric ties, as this will relieve the pressure on the ears and won’t get tangled when you take off your face mask.
3. Use a mask extension
Whether it’s purchased, made or even improvised, a mask extension is a great addition to have with your face mask. They all work on the same premise: the extension is positioned on the back of the head and the mask loops are attached here, rather than behind the ears.
A clever homemade suggestion is sewing buttons onto a headband and attaching the mask loops on the buttons and not on your ears.
If you’re not handy with crafts, you can simply stretch the two strings of the mask to the back of your head and secure it with a safety pin.
4. Invest in an N95 mask
N95 masks have straps that go around your head and the nape of your neck instead of your ears. Therefore, this style of mask doesn’t pose a risk to your hearing aids, as it circumvents them while still remaining secure on your face.
5. Wear a face shield
Fast becoming a more popular alternative to face masks, a transparent Plexiglass face shield is a great solution for protecting the wearer as well as others from contaminated droplets. Its main advantage is that the wearer’s face and facial expressions can be seen.
A face shield is attached to a headband that fits securely onto the forehead. As they extend downwards, the shields protect the eyes, the nose and the mouth. Face shields do not interfere with any form of hearing aids.
What happens if I do knock my hearing aids off while removing my face mask?
Firstly, try to stay calm. If you have hearing aids that are directly fitted to your smartphone, you may be able to locate your missing hearing aids via the app.
Simply click on the app in your smartphone (it should be under ‘Find My Hearing Aid’) to activate it. This will act as a type of honing function, where it will alert you if you are getting closer or further away from your missing hearing aid device.
For those who have not been fitted with a hearing aid AI device, don’t panic. Try to remember when and where you last had your hearing aids attached, and retrace your steps.
It’s a good idea to try taking off your mask only in one or two places – such as your car or in the home – so should your hearing aids go missing, there’s only two locations they could realistically be hiding in.
If you still are unable to locate your missing hearing aid, please contact your local bloom™ hearing specialists clinic.
How we can help
We are here to provide comfort and support during these trying times. Please contact our friendly customer service team on 1800 554 968 to discuss what we can do regarding your missing hearing aids or any other concerns you may have about your hearing aids.