Your tips: Making communication clear when wearing a facemask

Facemasks make clear communication harder for everyone, but especially for people with hearing loss.
Here’s a quick tip sheet from the Danish Association of the Hard of Hearing in partnership with HLAA and the IDA Institute
Communication tips when using face masks

What do you want people to know? What are your tips for how people can improve communication when wearing a mask?

The big thing I have noticed is for the speaker to be completely clear when speaking. You can speak up but not yell. Speak slowly. Ask if it is easier to write since they can’t lip read. Be patient!

REPLY

I have asked y husband this question and will report back. Excellent question and suggestions Colleen and Becky

REPLY

There are clear or partly clear "communication masks" made by small businesses and sold on the website Etsy.com. I bought one to better communicate with my hearing impaired patients.

REPLY

Thank you for that courtesy. There are many people who partially depend on speechreading whether they realize it or not. The clear masks do help.

REPLY

Another issue with masks is that they can easily pull a hearing aid off a person's ear when they are removed. This is especially true with those that have elastic that fits behind the ears where there is a hearing aid and a glasses bow. I know two people who have lost hearing aids this way. I prefer using masks that tie behind my head.

REPLY

Yes! That is always possible. When I am wearing my masks, I periodically check to make sure my hearing
aids have not 'moved' from where they are sitting on my ears. With the addition of my glasses, especially when switching from prescription sunglasses to regular glasses, it is even more critical. I recently volunteered with an Etsy mask maker to "trial" her new design for an elastic behind the head style. Ties were not a good idea for me having had multiple hand and finger surgeries years ago that permanently altered their dexterity and flexibility. For me, this style was even worse as the fabric not only squashed my ears, making it difficult to position my HAs', it also covered them. The elastic was extremely uncomfortable and it did not fit securely against the back of my head no matter how I tried to position it.

REPLY
@catladyde9

Yes! That is always possible. When I am wearing my masks, I periodically check to make sure my hearing
aids have not 'moved' from where they are sitting on my ears. With the addition of my glasses, especially when switching from prescription sunglasses to regular glasses, it is even more critical. I recently volunteered with an Etsy mask maker to "trial" her new design for an elastic behind the head style. Ties were not a good idea for me having had multiple hand and finger surgeries years ago that permanently altered their dexterity and flexibility. For me, this style was even worse as the fabric not only squashed my ears, making it difficult to position my HAs', it also covered them. The elastic was extremely uncomfortable and it did not fit securely against the back of my head no matter how I tried to position it.

Jump to this post

I tried masks that had elastic around the head. No go for me. They tangled in my hair and would not stay where I wanted them to be. I made masks with long enough ties that I can get them tied in a bow. I've also found it helps to wear a hat to tie them behind. I understand the dexterity issue, and have it a bit of that problem myself with arthritic fingers. I have also seen people use a button band that grabs the elastic from a standard mask and fastens behind the head. Not sure there is a perfect solution. Needless to say, they are all uncomfortable and inconvenient. This too shall pass….hopefully!!

REPLY
@catladyde9

Yes! That is always possible. When I am wearing my masks, I periodically check to make sure my hearing
aids have not 'moved' from where they are sitting on my ears. With the addition of my glasses, especially when switching from prescription sunglasses to regular glasses, it is even more critical. I recently volunteered with an Etsy mask maker to "trial" her new design for an elastic behind the head style. Ties were not a good idea for me having had multiple hand and finger surgeries years ago that permanently altered their dexterity and flexibility. For me, this style was even worse as the fabric not only squashed my ears, making it difficult to position my HAs', it also covered them. The elastic was extremely uncomfortable and it did not fit securely against the back of my head no matter how I tried to position it.

Jump to this post

There are many different types of elastic that can be used with the clear windowed masks. I use the flat soft 1/4 to 1/3 inch elastic measuring 12-15 inches long so that both strands are able to be pulled and placed onto the head. After washing and using them a number of times, they relax and are easier to use on the head. The masks that I am sewing here in Sun City Center, FL are comfortable and easy around aids, glasses and different styles of hairdos.

REPLY

Another suggestion is to sew strips (bias tape or a little wider, cut on bias is best) with a short strip of Velcro on each end. I have one mask where I ran the strips from, gasp, the bottom of the mask BELOW my ears, at the nape of the neck. Once I've connected the Velcro to the right tightness, I can simply slip the mask down when it's not needed, to hang loose, and then slip it back it when needed again. If the Velcro closure is at the back of the head above the ears, you can do the same: once the connection is right, leave it connected and lift it up…which will mess up your hair, of course. I'm most comfortable wearing a shield instead of a mask…at least until my 75# beast stood on it while we were driving to do river surveys. <g> I need to replace the face section of the shield, as now my view has "wrinkles" that are quite distracting.

REPLY
@nurseheadakes

There are many different types of elastic that can be used with the clear windowed masks. I use the flat soft 1/4 to 1/3 inch elastic measuring 12-15 inches long so that both strands are able to be pulled and placed onto the head. After washing and using them a number of times, they relax and are easier to use on the head. The masks that I am sewing here in Sun City Center, FL are comfortable and easy around aids, glasses and different styles of hairdos.

Jump to this post

@nurseheadakes Yes elastic will relax. At one time I was working with two separate Etsy mask makers. One of the two I am still using. At my request she used thinner, softer elastic and made the ear loops longer so they will not pinch/be too tight around my ears; so far this is the best type of mask for me and my head. No two head shapes are identical — what works for one may be a disaster for others. Except for traditional hats I have never been comfortable wearing anything around my head, tied to my head nor having anything tied under my chin….(never wore scarves on my head, tied under my chin or around my neck). My "guinea pig" mask maker initially sent me a mask made with elongated velcro fastening. It was impossible to comfortably "tighten" the velcro without pinching my face/head. No matter how I positioned the velcro fasteners around my head, the mask would begin creeping up my face till it was blocking the bottom of my eyes. Since velcro fasteners masks refused to stay in place on the back of my head they had to be discarded. Velcro is a great idea for those who can comfortably use it.

REPLY

Could you tell me the specific mask you feel is ok for the hearing aids?

REPLY

Sadly the kerchief. Others bother my aids

REPLY
@nap

Could you tell me the specific mask you feel is ok for the hearing aids?

Jump to this post

@nap, you may be interested in this related discussion where members discuss various mask solutions compatible with hearing aids.
– Coronavirus facemask interferes with hearing aids https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/coronavirus-mask-interferes-with-hearing-aids/

REPLY

I had to go in to an urgent care about a month ago. I wasn't sure how I would be able to understand everyone wearing masks, so I asked the receptionist and the doctors to write down anything they wanted to say to me. They had a little dry erase board, which worked perfectly. In fact, I liked it better than my regular mode of communication for appointments–using lip reading and Live Transcribe. The app doesn't always catch everything accurately and I'm often asking the doctors to repeat themselves. I'm planning on buying a little dry erase board that I can bring with me in a shoulder bag.

REPLY
@mark888

I had to go in to an urgent care about a month ago. I wasn't sure how I would be able to understand everyone wearing masks, so I asked the receptionist and the doctors to write down anything they wanted to say to me. They had a little dry erase board, which worked perfectly. In fact, I liked it better than my regular mode of communication for appointments–using lip reading and Live Transcribe. The app doesn't always catch everything accurately and I'm often asking the doctors to repeat themselves. I'm planning on buying a little dry erase board that I can bring with me in a shoulder bag.

Jump to this post

Whatever works for each of us is the best way to go. Many hard of hearing people I know have turned to written communication with whiteboards and/or apps on their phones. Most important is explaining to the medical personnel why you are doing what you are doing.

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.