Tips on Communicating While Wearing a Face Mask

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak made it mandatory to wear a face covering in public in June, 2020. It’s now almost normal to see people out and about with face masks. We’re all playing an important role in helping to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

It’s not hard to see how much of an impact COVID-19 has had. Social distancing, canceling of large events, postponing or delaying others; it has touched each and every one of us.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that to keep ourselves safe, we practice social distancing. Where this is not possible (like in a grocery store!) we should be wearing face masks. The CDC’s website says: “We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”)…  even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.”

For people with a hearing impairment, face masks present a few unique challenges. From an inability to read lips, to an increased likelihood of losing a hearing device. In a previous article, we discussed wearing hearing aids with a face mask. To read further, please click here.

Tips on Communicating While Wearing a Face Mask

Hearing loss also makes communication with a face mask difficult. We’ve put together tips on communicating while wearing a face mask.

Transparent Masks

When possible, try to use transparent masks. Yes, these are a thing! A transparent window in a face covering allows for lip reading, making it much easier to communicate. Research backs this up.

Eye Contact

While maintaining a safe distance, maintain eye contact while communicating. It’s surprising how much communication we do with our eyes.

Pen and Paper

Dust off those notepads! Having a pen and paper to hand can make communication easier. Particularly useful if you are struggling to hear what the other party is saying. You can simply ask them to write down what they were saying.

Assistive Technology

Google Keyboard is an example of a speech-to-text application. These types of mobile apps can help your understanding of speech. All you need to do is hold your phone in the direction of the person speaking.

Choose Quiet Locations

Whenever possible, try to find a quiet location to talk. Background noise can be distracting, even in the best listening circumstances. Add in the added challenges of a face mask, and background noise can be very bothersome.

Remember, wearing your hearing device is one of the best ways to improve your communication. Please be careful when removing your devices, as we don’t want you to lose them. For guidance on safely removing your hearing aid while wearing a face covering, please click here.

If you suspect that your hearing may have changed recently, please get in touch with the hearing specialists at Anderson Audiology. Call us on 702-997-2964 or click here to request an appointment online.

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