With the ongoing pandemic and many counties initiating face mask mandates recommended by the CDC to limit the spread of COVID-19, many challenges have arisen for those who are hard of hearing or affected by deafness. With the use of masks, people who were already using hearing aids noticed they were having an increased difficulty understanding speech and some people without hearing aids are discovering that they need them to communicate. Additionally, the recommended six feet of distance can also put a strain on communication and make it harder to understand what someone is saying.
Fortunately, there are a few techniques and solutions Dr. Nikki, an ear specialist in Omaha, NE says that we can try to implement to make life a little easier.
For the general public
- Use visual cues: If you know someone is hard of hearing and does not seem to hear you, try using visual cues. A simple wave or hand motion can help to get their attention and realize that you are speaking to them.
- Use hand gestures: Along the same lines as visual cues, hand gestures can be helpful when accompanied by what you are saying to illustrate your point. For example, using a thumbs-up gesture to indicate that you are doing okay or in place of a “yes” response.
- Write it out if possible: If you are in a situation that allows you to write out your request or directions, then that can be extremely helpful. It can help to cut down on any miscommunication and frustration for both parties.
- Ask direct questions: Instead of trying to guess what technique above would work best, do not be afraid to directly ask someone hard of hearing what would specifically help them. They could have their own preferred method of communication and so it is always best to ask.
- Be patient: Above all else, the best we can do during these tough times is to be patient. Try not to take the situation personally, and always give an inch of grace where needed. We are all adjusting still and getting used to the “new normal.” We all miss things sometimes and need a little understanding.
For those hard of hearing
- Don’t be afraid to speak up: Letting someone know that you are hard of hearing is the first step towards better communication. You can let people know how to best communicate with you whether that is via email, writing, with gestures or something else entirely.
- Wear a mask that states you are hard of hearing: While this one is completely up to every individual’s comfort level, it can help to bring awareness to the situation so that both parties are aware of what is happening.
- Be patient with yourself: These times are tough on everybody, and it is okay to admit that you need extra help. Visiting an ear specialist in Omaha, NE like Dr. Nikki can help you to understand what is happening with your hearing in a hearing consultation and offer up solutions that are exclusively tailored to you.
- Utilize technology: Speech to text apps like “Live Transcribe” for Android devices or “Otter” for Apple devices will translate speech into text in real-time so you can also read what is being said.
Connect with us
If you are struggling with hearing loss during the pandemic, make an appointment with Dr. Nikki, an ear specialist in Omaha, NE. She has a myriad of services available designed to help you with better hearing and increase your quality of life. Contact us to get started!