In times like these, communicating with your family and friends is vital to your mental health.  Many of us are cooped up in our homes and no longer able to socialize the way we normally do.  Our churches, restaurants, community centers, and other social scenes are temporarily closed.  Many of us have turned to technology to maintain social contact that is so vital to human life.

Phone calls, video calls, and texting have become extremely important in the last few weeks.  But what happens to those of us who struggle to hear or need to read lips?  If you have difficulty hearing, phone calls and video calls can only get you so far.

An inability to hear affects you in many ways.  You will have a hard time with communication, your ability to concentrate may decrease, and you may notice an increase in anxiety and depression.  Social isolation is being encouraged right now due to the pandemic, but this too can negatively impact your mental well-being.  It is very important that you are able to communicate effectively with loved ones to help get you through these challenging times.

For those of us who know someone with hearing complications, make sure you contact them as much as possible during their isolation, whether that is by phone call, text, or video call.  Be patient and speak clearly and slowly to increase your chances of communicating with them effectively.  Anxiety and depression are major risks during isolation, but speaking with your family or friends can alleviate those symptoms and help you feel supported and cared for.

Right now, we are encouraged to make sure we have the proper tools, supplies, and resources to get us through.  For those with hearing devices, make sure you have enough batteries, filters, domes, and other supplies on hand.  Make sure you have been educated on how to change your filters and domes as well!  If you haven’t, call your hearing care provider and ask them to send you instructions on how to do this.

There are still many audiologists who are staying open as long as possible to help address your needs and see you on an emergency basis.  Some will even mail you supplies if you are unable to leave your home!  A hearing emergency includes sudden hearing loss, pain in the ear, dome removals, and hearing device malfunctions.  Please don’t hesitate to contact your hearing specialist if you experience any of those symptoms.  Hearing is important, but it’s especially important today and in these upcoming weeks.  Make sure you take care of yourself!