COVID-19 has brought new challenges to all of us. But the hard of hearing have been particularly affected by the widespread use of face masks. This is because when your hearing is impaired, lip movements are an essential way to understand what someone else is saying. Those with hearing losses ranging from mild to severe often rely on seeing someone’s facial features to communicate daily.
Approximately 48 million Americans with hearing loss could be affected if face mask usage becomes widespread (source: Hearing Loss Association of America).
Issues arising in hospitals
In hospitals, where facemasks are standard forms of personal protection, a communication breakdown can have severe repercussions.
A recent BBC news article brought this problem to light. But it also showed how face masks with clear sections, allowing patients to see lip movements, were a powerful solution to the issue.
At Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, these were making a dramatic difference. “We’ve had glowing feedback from patients and we’re getting broader requests from other parts of the hospital, especially the pediatric floors,” said Dr Cheri Blauwet, who leads the hospital’s disability task force.
Our response to the crisis
At Allison Audiology, we understand the issues that the hard of hearing face daily and became quickly aware of how facial coverings might affect those in our community. That’s why we have been distributing special packages to physicians in the Houston and Lake Jackson areas, which include face masks with clear sections for them to wear. This will allow our excellent medical workers to treat someone who has a hearing issue with speed and efficiency.
It’s just one of the many ways we’re enhancing our local response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with all our patients in mind.
Are you concerned about hearing loss, or know someone who is? Contact us at either our Houston or Lake Jackson office, and we can help you today!