How to Wear Hearing Aids with a Face Mask

Adjusting to life with a face mask has been challenging for everybody over the past 12 months, but it’s particularly difficult for anyone with a hearing impairment.

Not only do face masks muffle everyday speech and make it that little bit harder to hear, but they also interfere with a behind-the-ear hearing aid when worn normally.

However, there are ways to wear a hearing aid with a face mask without compromising your hearing. We’ve listed those here along with tips for communicating with a hearing-impaired person while wearing a face mask, so you can protect your health and your hearing at the same time.

4 tips for wearing a face mask with hearing aids

  1. Opt for a mask that ties behind your head as opposed to looping behind the ears, so the straps don’t interfere with your hearing aid.
  2. Tie long hair into a bun or high ponytail and loop the mask elastic around the base.
  3. Get creative with a DIY mask extender. For example, you can add buttons to a headband as an attachment point for the mask elastic. You can also purchase these online, and they’re great to have on hand when the only option is a standard, short loop mask.
  4. If you do need to take your mask off, do so in an area where you won’t damage or lose the hearing aid if it falls off.

How to communicate when wearing a face mask

Face masks can also make communication even more challenging for people with hearing loss. Speech becomes quieter, and lip-reading is impossible with a conventional mask.

But that doesn’t mean you have to shout. Use the following strategies for smooth conversation while wearing a face mask:

  • Use plenty of gestures and eye contact to communicate meaning and tone. 
  • Ask friends to use communicator masks with a clear window at the front, so you can lip-read.
  • Slow your speech and put the emphasis on clarity, not volume. 
  • Reduce external noise, or wait until you’re in a quiet environment to talk.
  • Encourage friends and family to use a speech-to-text app if you are unable to hear.
  • If someone does need to remove their mask to be heard, put a safe distance between you first.

Get more tips on living with hearing aids