Facemasks are proving challenging for those with severe hearing loss or deafness. Masks make it impossible to lipread, hindering communication.
NBC News recently reported on FDA-approved masks that are custom-made to feature a clear panel so others can read lips and expressions. Unfortunately, at this point, there is a shortage of supply.
CNC Hearing and Balance Audiologist Brittany Thomas says that even people with normal hearing rely on lipreading more than they realize and it is even more true for people with hearing loss.
“We think clear masks could be very beneficial for people with hearing loss, but unfortunately everywhere we have tried to order them, they have been out of stock, so we are on a waiting list.”
Thomas advises the hard of hearing to advocate for themselves and to be upfront about their hearing loss. “Those without hearing loss often take hearing for granted and forget to consider the hearing status of others,” she says. By pointing out the communication issue, both parties should work together on a successful way to communicate.
Now is a great time to visit an audiologist if you notice you have been having a hard time hearing someone wearing a mask. CNC Hearing and Balance specialists are also available for virtual visits via Telemedicine. Call us for an appointment at 504-934-8320.