With the ongoing pandemic, wearing a face mask in public has become a much more common sight across Australia. This creates a new set of challenges for the hearing impaired — relying on visual cues such as lip reading and facial expressions is an essential part of communicating with others. Not only do face masks cover these visual cues, the mask elastics behind and around the ears could increase the risk of losing behind-the-ear hearing aids. Here are some tips to make wearing a mask with hearing aids a little easier.
Consider a different mask style
The majority of medical-grade masks have elastics which sit around the ears, potentially putting pressure on your ears and behind-the-ear hearing aids. If you can, find a mask that secures behind the head, either with elastic or by tying strings. This will assist by taking the pressure away from the ears and reduce the risk of losing the hearing aid when removing the mask.
There are a couple of ways you can turn a mask that secures behind the ears into one that secures behind the head. Sew a button to each end of a strip of fabric. Loop the mask elastics around the buttons and secure behind the head. A piece of string could also be used to fasten the mask elastics around the head in a similar way.
Get your hair out of the way
When putting on or taking off a mask, hair can get in the way of the ears and hearing aids. If your hair is long, try pulling it back into a bun or ponytail. This will increase your awareness of the hearing aid and make it easier to double check it is placed correctly when slipping a mask’s elastics on or off.
Secure your devices with a security clip
For added confidence while out and about, a hearing aid retention cord and clip might be right for you. These accessories — like the Oticon SafeLineTM1 — attach your hearing devices to the collar of your shirt with a clip, so you don’t have to worry about losing or damaging your hearing aids. Contact your hearing health provider for more information.2
Take care when removing the mask
Sometimes, it’s just as simple as being mindful. When removing a face mask, remember to make sure your hearing aids are on properly and securely. We recommend holding the hearing aid in place with one hand, while removing the elastics of the mask with the other.
The last thing you need right now is to lose an expensive hearing aid while protecting your health with a face mask. For more advice on wearing a mask with hearing aids or to book a hearing health check-up, call the Audika Hearing Care Help Line on 1800 340 631 or visit our Live Chat, available 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
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1SafeLine is compatible with all Oticon BTE, miniRITE and designRITE hearing aid styles. Always read the instructions for use. Follow the instructions for use.
2Accessories are available at an additional cost. Speak to your hearing health provider about the accessories available for your hearing aid.