The Coronavirus has meant that the way we live and socialize has changed. People with hearing loss may be affected more by the pandemic for many reasons: including cancellations of routine hearing health care visits, the use of face coverings and masks which affect lip reading and speech clarity, and isolation. When communicating, face masks, distance make hearing and understanding even more difficult.
People over the age of 70 who are deemed as “clinically vulnerable” or at risk of severe illness form from the disease were asked to follow social distancing guidelines particularly stringently and not to leave their house if possible. We know that over fifty percent of the people over the age of 70 live alone. Over 70% of people over 70 have hearing loss.
We already know that hearing loss is linked to increased rates of depression, isolation, and loneliness. Research has shown that people with hearing loss are at greater risk for developing cognitive impairment and dementia.
Therefore, the enforced social distancing may have a detrimental impact on mental health, loneliness, and isolation in older adults with hearing loss. This may have lasting implications for the risk of developing subsequent dementia.
The use of phones, emails, video calls can aid in communication and broadening social contact. However, using these devices with a hearing loss can prove to be challenging at best.
We have also seen a dramatic increase in the number of hearing instruments lost due to the use of face-coverings.
Effective communication for individuals who are hearing impaired is particularly critical in health care where miscommunication may lead to misdiagnosis and improper or delayed treatment.
- Hearing care must be maintained (even remotely) to allow people with hearing loss access to communication
- Consider the use of assistive listening devices to help with telephone calls and video chats
- If you suspect your hearing has changed have it tested
- Use a mask clip to position your mask around your neck instead of around your ears to lessen the risk of losing your hearing instruments
Help is available
If you or someone you know has an untreated hearing loss get your hearing tested. We are offering free hearing screening for adults.
If you have a hearing loss and are having difficulty with phone calls, we offer a free amplified phone with closed captioning.
If you wear over the ear hearing instruments and would like a Free mask clip Please contact our office and we will be happy to send you one.
If you have hearing instruments and are having difficulty with them or would like to learn more about their use and care we are offering two free books
It’s not what you say, It’s what they hear, By Denis Murnane BC-HIS and Frustrated by HEARING LOSS? Five keys to Communication Sucess by Dusty Ann Jessen Au.D
If you are unable to visit your hearing health provider due to the pandemic, we have four office locations to serve you. Even remotely.
Denis Murnane is a Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist, noted speaker, and author. He has owned and operated Community Hearing Services for 35 years. You can contact Mr. Murnane at firstname.lastname@example.org, Communityhearingservices.com, (914) 666-2252.