Living through a pandemic is challenging for everyone. Unfortunately, with a hearing loss it can be even more difficult. Here are some communication tips and hearing aid reminders for maintaining good hearing health during this challenging time:
- The most important tip of all - Continue to wear your hearing aids during all waking hours! Although you may not be around others during this time, it is important that you continue to wear your hearing aids around the house even during quiet activities. This will keep the hearing part of your brain stimulated - research has shown this can reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia in later years.
- Use video-calling when possible. Video-calling apps like FaceTime, Skype and Zoom allow us to use speech reading cues such as lip reading, facial expressions and gestures. Being able to see the person you are speaking with not only makes it easier to carry on a conversation, but it helps ease feelings of loneliness while we practice social distancing. It is the next-best thing to speaking to someone in person!
- Use speaker phone. If video-calling is not possible, use speaker phone! Speaker phone allows us to listen with both ears at the same time, making listening and understanding much easier, which means less straining to hear. This is called the binaural advantage!
- Take advantage of the subtitle feature on your TV or streaming service: If you find yourself watching more television lately, enhance your experience by turning on the subtitles. This way you can simply read the words you've misheard without disrupting your partner's viewing experience. And if you’re watching alone, you won’t have to rewind and listen again.
- When possible, ask others to remove their mask. If you are struggling to hear your communication partner and they are at a safe distance of 6 feet, ask them to remove their mask. This will allow you to see their lip movements and facial expressions which will enhance your understanding of what is being said.
- If possible, turn your hearing aids up. If the volume control has been activated on your hearing aids or you have access to volume control via a hearing aid accessory or smart phone app, turning your hearing aids up will help you to hear your conversation partner better while maintaining a distance of 6 feet away.
- Clean your hearing aids regularly. Hearing aids need to be cleaned and cared for in order to maintain proper function. This is especially important now during COVID-19 as many hearing aid clinics are open for emergency appointments only.
- Download a hearing aid smart phone app! Use your hearing aid accessories! No better time than now to try a hearing aid smart phone application or a hearing aid accessory that has been sitting in your drawer. These technologies are designed specifically for enhancing sound quality and speech understanding whether it be during a phone call, while watching television, or while listening to music.
*Please note, not all hearing aids are compatible with all technologies.
Finally, check out our hearing aid care and troubleshooting tips on our website.