We previously wrote a post about communicating with someone who is wearing a mask. Now that we are all required to wear one whenever we leave the house, patients have become aware of another major problem with them. Many hearing aids are worn behind the ear- and many masks are secured behind the ears too! How do you make sure that your hearing aids are not going to get caught in the mask, causing you to lose them? Here are 7 tips and tricks when it comes to masks and hearing aids.
Make sure aids fit well and are secure
If your hearing aids aren’t secure when you aren’t wearing your mask, they won’t be secure when you are! Make sure that you are inserting your aids correctly. Once they are in properly, they should be snug and secure on the ears. If you find that your aids move out during the day under normal conditions, chat to your audiologist about alternative fit options. It might be that you need a different dome or tube size, a custom fitting, or you might need an anchor added to help keep the aids in your ears.
Try a different mask style
If your hearing aids are catching on the elastics that go around your ears, you might consider a different style of mask. Some patients find that masks with ties or elastics that wrap around the back of your head don’t get in the way of the hearing aids as much. A different style of mask might be an easy way to keep your hearing aids safe while you are out and about. Some people are also choosing to wear face shields or visors instead- this is better than nothing, but remember, they do not provide as much protection for you or those around you as a face mask does.
Modify your mask
If masks with ear hooks fit your face better, you can modify them to interfere with your hearing aids a bit less. Some patients find that by knotting the elastics the ear hooks sit lower down, and don’t get in the way of the aids as much. Others have sewn two buttons onto a piece of fabric and attached the ear hooks to that behind the head so that the elastics aren’t pressing on the ears. If you have long hair, put it up in a bun and hook the elastics around your bun rather than on your ears. Play around with your mask to find a solution that works for you- but make sure it still fits your face snuggly!
Use a collar clip when wearing your mask and hearing aids together
If you’re worried that your aids will fall out of your ears, there are accessories that you can purchase to keep the aids from getting lost if they do slip out. Some manufacturers have special cables that you can attach to the aids and clip onto your collar so that if they slip out they won’t fall to the floor. These are most commonly used for babies and small children, but with face masks becoming part of our lives, they are being used more and more by adults. Ask your audiologist about options like this for your hearing aids.
Be careful when removing your mask, and don’t fiddle with it
We all know that you are not supposed to take your mask on and off when you are out and about. Most of the time when hearing aids are dislodged by a mask it happens when you are taking the mask off, so the rule is, don’t take it off until you are safely in your own home! Put your mask on at home, and leave it there without touching it until you get home again. The more you take the mask on and off, and the more you play with it, the more likely you are to lose your hearing aids.
Activate a ‘Find my hearing aids’ feature on your smartphone app, if you have one
Some hearing aid manufacturers have a ‘Find my hearing aids’ feature in their app. If your hearing aids are compatible, make sure the app is downloaded and set up to allow for location services. This means that if you get home and discover that a hearing aid is missing, you can use GPS to track the last place it was connected to your phone. We have a few patients that have managed to find their lost aids this way, so check with your audiologist to see if it can be activated for yours.
Insure your hearing aids
Even if you are extremely careful, it is still possible that a hearing aid could be knocked out of your ear and get lost or stepped on. For this reason, we encourage all hearing aid wearers to add their hearing aids to their household insurance policy as an all-risk item. This means that you will be covered not only if your mask dislodges your instruments, but also if they are eaten by the dog, go for a swim, or go through the washing in a shirt pocket! Ask your audiologist for an updated replacement value certificate for your hearing aids, and make sure that you update your insurance value every year.
Masks and hearing aids are a tricky combination from all perspectives! But for now, they are a necessary part of our lives, so we need to find a way for them to work together. Try these tricks, and let us know if you’ve discovered any other ways to protect your hearing aids while wearing a mask. Contact us, or comment below if you have any ideas, or if you’d like some more information about any of the tips described above.