Face masks are an easy, painless way to slow the spread of COVID-19. But they can make it more difficult to communicate with the deaf or hard of hearing. While it’s a misconception that the hard of hearing can understand what others are saying through lip-reading alone, the truth is that lip-reading does help. Here are some tips to help you communicate with the hard of hearing through your face mask.
Speak Slowly and Clearly
If the individual with whom you’re trying to communicate is hard of hearing but not completely deaf, the best thing you can do is just to speak slowly and clearly. You don’t have to talk more loudly; this can actually make things worse, especially if they’re wearing hearing aids. But you should not mumble.
Just slow down, speak clearly, and be prepared to repeat yourself. As much as you can, do not feel frustrated if you have to repeat yourself multiple times. Remember that it isn’t the other person’s fault that they have hearing loss, and that they’re probably more frustrated than you are.
Use a Dry Erase Board
Another time-honored way to communicate with the hard of hearing is by using a dry erase board. If you frequently have to converse with the hard of hearing at your workplace, it might be a good idea to have one on hand. They’re especially useful if there’s just a word or turn of phrase that the person with whom you’re speaking can’t make out!
Other similar tools can work just as well, such as a pen and paper or even your smartphone.
Look into Clear Face Masks
The CDC has been very clear on this: using a clear face shield should not be seen as a substitute for a proper face mask. They are meant to be used in conjunction with masks, not as a substitute for one. But a clear face mask could be the solution.
Increasingly, people are realizing that face masks make it more difficult for the hard of hearing to understand what you might be saying. In response, many companies are manufacturing clear masks that are still effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19. This one, for instance, has been approved by the FDA.
If you frequently communicate with the hard of hearing, transparent face masks are certainly worth looking into.
Contact Bay Area Audiology Today
Ready to change the way you look at hearing loss? Our Doctor of Audiology, Dr. Trisha A. Bents Muth, is exceptionally experienced in the art of audiology and is dedicated to providing the absolute best solutions. Bay Area Audiology has been working to give patients a comfortable environment with thorough evaluations. We are independently owned, and unbiased when it comes to finding you the care you need.
You can always come into the office or contact us in advance to set up an appointment. We also provide updates on our social media websites. You can check out our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to keep up with Bay Area Audiology.
Don’t hesitate–we can help.