Hearing loss and face masks

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says wearing a mask is one of the best ways to stop the spread of coronavirus. But with the mouth and lips being covered, those with hearing loss may have trouble understanding what is being said.

Clinical audiologists at Mid-Kansas Ear, Nose and Throat clinic say are seeing more patients reporting difficulties with conversation due to the more intimate settings.

“They’re having to talk through windows, talk through phones, so they’re having more trouble communicating that way without being able to do that stuff face-to-face and with their mouths being seen,” Dr. Chelsea Peyton said.

If you communicate often with someone who is hard of hearing, Peyton reccomends finding a different or better way to communicate a message while in a mask rather than just speaking louder.

“We’ve actually had more people contacting us regarding difficulties with conversation,” Dr. Ashleigh Guthrie said.

Several patients have lost their hearing aids due to their own use of a mask, with the elastic strings pulling out the hearing device.

If you wear hearing aids, the audiologists recommend finding ways to attach the mask to your face without using your ears at all.

If the use of masks has you questioning your hearing abilities, it may be time to schedule an appointment.

“Getting something on paper for where your hearing is today is always a good thing so we can monitor changes,” Dr. Peyton said.

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