The isolation the COVID-19 pandemic has caused has been especially difficult on those who are hard of hearing or wear hearing aids. Hearing loss can already feel isolating, and the necessary social distancing has made those feelings of isolation more acute.
The national stay-at-home order has affected us all in other ways, mostly in the environment we’ve lived in for the last year and a half with no background noise. Getting used to a world of noise again can be hard.
Here’s everything I advise on preparing your hearing for the return to “normalcy” following COVID-19.
#1 – Do Your Hearing Aids Need Adjustment?
Your hearing might have changed in the last 18 months, and if so, your hearing aids will need to be programmed correctly to reflect this.
When hearing aids aren’t used correctly, through improper programming or the wrong kind of hearing aid used, there will be side effects that may annoy you or make wearing them uncomfortable.
Sometimes, these side effects include:
- Excessive feedback
- Soreness around the ears or skin irritations
- Itchy ear canals
- Inability to hear properly
Come see us for a hearing test so we can see if your hearing has changed and adjust your hearing aids appropriately.
#2 – Give Yourself Time To Adjust
It can take time to figure out exactly how to hear when you’re in crowded environments with a lot of background noise again.
A lot of hearing aids have “restaurant” options that your audiologist can program for you. Please feel free to schedule an appointment so we can help you with this, or to see if this is an option with your hearing aids. You will be amazed at the difference!
In the meantime, when visiting restaurants, keep the following tips in mind:
- If possible, avoid busy times. The less your conversation must compete with others, the better.
- Choose your seat at a restaurant carefully. A lot of hearing aid technology blocks out background noise, but even then, it can help a lot to choose a table at the perimeter of the room and sit with your back to the room. Better yet, request a booth so voices are captured.
- Try to choose a restaurant or gathering place with sound-absorbing surfaces (i.e., carpets, drapes, acoustic tiles, tablecloths, etc.).
- Since a large part of our communication is non-verbal, pay attention to the body language of your party.
You might be ready to upgrade your hearing aids if you’ve had your current aids for a long time and they don’t have the technology you want to manage background noise better. Come see what’s new so you can have a better idea of what’s available.
#3 – Be Prepared For Loud Environments
Some settings are noisier than others, and it’s important to be prepared when you’re about to walk into loud events.
Always, always, always protect your hearing! Some damage can be irreversible, so prevention is key. You can turn down the volume on your aids considerably during concerts or if you’re back in an industrial work setting.
We also offer custom ear protection, so feel free to call us if you know you’ll be in noisy environments again.
Have You Had a Check-Up Since COVID-19?
Knowledge is power! While it can be scary for some people to face, it’s always better to know if you do have a hearing loss so that you can begin to treat it if it’s necessary.
Similarly, if you’re a hearing aid wearer, it’s important to visit your audiologist every 6 months to ensure your hearing aids stay up to date with your current needs.
Book a hearing assessment at the hearing center nearest you — Grass Valley, Rocklin, Lodi, or Sacramento — for you or a loved one. Even if you don’t think you have any change in your hearing, a hearing assessment will let you know for sure and you can treat your hearing loss accurately.
We look forward to helping you get back to maximizing your hearing.