How wearing a mask affects hearing impaired people

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MORRISTOWN, BRIDGEPORT, OHIO (WTRF)- There’s no denying that the global pandemic has impacted each individual directly. But for those who are hearing impaired, the impact is much grander. 

“My biggest fear is who am I not going to hear today because of the masks. It’s a huge struggle and it just makes you not want to not go out in public when you see that sign that you have to have a mask because you know that you’re going to have to deal with not hearing,” said Karen Hardy, a hearing impaired individual.  

“I wake up every day and I say, I hope I have a good hearing day, kind of like how some people say I hope I have a good hair day, well I hope I have a good hearing day,” said Glenda Myers. 

A 5th grade teacher at Union Local, Glenda Myers says teaching her students while wearing a mask has been a struggle. 

“Our facial cues are so important for just feeling comforted and welcomed and it provides that positive atmosphere when we see someone smiling so if you don’t have that positive relationship with one another and that positive environment, learning can be challenged,” said Myers.  

Wearing pins stating you can’t read lips can also help, along with nonverbal forms of communication. 

“Maybe some sign language we’ve been throwing in there. Written communication is really good on dry erase boards. They love doing that.” 

Having to adapt to wearing a mask has also created another problem for some who wear hearing aids.  

“One other issue that’s become just really huge is the fact that lots of patients wear hearing aids that fit above the ear and we’ve had lots of people that have lost their hearing aids as a part of that and we encourage them to try to keep their mask on until their home,” said Jacki Keenan, the Owner and Operator of Sonotone Hearing Aid Center. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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