The feeling of isolation is one that many of us have experienced lately due to recent events. You don’t think about how bad your hearing is until someone tries to talk to you through a mask – it’s like someone turned off the closed captioning. Communication between family and friends is extremely vital, especially for those with hearing challenges and/or hearing aids. Living with diminished hearing is an isolating experience in and of itself, but with the help of hearing aids it can be less lonely.

While society is beginning to fall back into normal patterns, there are clear changes in our day-to-day lives. Grocery stores are still implementing social distancing, cleaning carts between uses, and requiring employees to wear masks. People are still wearing masks when they go out. Many offices are limiting the number of patients in their offices and requiring the patients to wear masks. This shows that the effects of the virus are not going away anytime soon. But where does that leave those who heavily depend on their hearing aids and/or lip reading?

Though we are no longer being forced into isolation, wearing masks and social distancing are likely to become our new norm. It is hard enough to hear when someone is wearing a mask but add in social distancing and the challenge of understanding becomes extremely difficult. Any time you double the distance, you cut the volume in half. That means it is extremely important to be mindful of your hearing health so you can maintain efficient communication, especially with summer here. None of us want to spend our Father’s Day BBQ shouting at each other to be heard or avoiding the social gathering altogether because it is hard and exhausting trying to comprehend conversations! The opportunities to visit with our family and friends are less frequent lately, so each one is precious. Take advantage of these important moments and make sure your hearing is optimal.

Communication has never been more important. Telephone calls and video chats are becoming the preferred method to keep in touch with our family, friends and loved ones. Missing what is being said is frustrating and discouraging. We finally have some social interaction and we don’t want to miss part of what is being said. Your drop in quality of hearing limits your ability to communicate as effectively as you would like.

Keep an eye out for symptoms of hearing loss, not only for yourself, but for your family around you. Signs to watch for are: muffling of speech and other sounds, difficulty understanding words (especially in situations with background noise), needing to significantly turn up the volume on the TV or Radio, asking others to repeat themselves or speak more slowly/clearly/loudly, or withdrawing and avoiding social situations altogether. While many services must be done face to face, there is a lot that can be done virtually or curbside as well! Don’t wait to get help with your hearing.

If you are struggling with your hearing or notice a sudden drop in hearing, don’t wait! It is considered an urgent medical situation and you should contact an audiologist immediately for an appointment. Remember, your hearing devices can help you stay involved in your surroundings and avoid feeling isolated or lonely. Stay safe, stay healthy, and Happy Father’s Day!