Women in face masks bumping elbows in greeting





If you have hearing loss and wear hearing aids (or maybe you’re looking at purchasing a new or first pair), this story is for you. There have been numerous cases of hearing loss being more challenging due to Covid-19 and the wearing of face masks. Here is some background information that explains these challenges along with some suggestions and words of encouragement.

Let’s begin with a quick overview about the importance of how non-verbal cues influence meaning and context of simple conversation. Whether you have hearing loss or excellent hearing, we depend on non-verbal cues such as body language, hand gestures, facial expressions, vocal presence, and lip reading to provide context when speaking with someone. It’s been estimated that half of all communication is non-verbal, so the effects of face masks interfering with normal conversation are very real.

Additionally, we all have experienced the effect masks have on speech clarity and loudness. To put it simply, masks make voices sound muffled. Not only does the face mask reduce the loudness of someone talking, but more critically the mask muffles the consonants which play the biggest role helping us distinguish words from one another. Words that are similar sounding, such as “house”, “mouth”, and “shout” may all sound the same because the beginning and ending sounds will be “masked” (pun intended). 

If you’ve ever paid attention to hearing aid styles, the most common non-Eargo type is the one that fits behind-the-ear (BTE). While this style may work adequately for some, active people who exercise or wear hats or glasses have frequently found them to be intrusive and clumsy. Currently, the most common problem we’re hearing about is how much this BTE style is interfering with masks. Eargo’s team of hearing professionals are from people every day who have lost their BTE hearing aids after removing their facemasks and are now looking for alternatives that fit inside the ear canal to avoid these mishaps in the future.

Closeup of man wearing behind-the-ear hearing aid

Wearing a mask is good, but losing a $3,000 BTE hearing aid is not good.

So what can a person do if they have hearing loss and are trying to navigate masks and Covid?

Here are some helpful tips for people with hearing loss whether they use hearing aids or not.

Helpful tips if you’re using hearing aids now

  1. If you are currently using hearing aids, make certain they are working properly and are clean. Keep your hearing aids clear of ear wax and make sure you have clean microphone ports so they are performing and sounding their best.
  2. If you are considering replacing your BTE hearing aids for easier and convenient face mask wearing consider an in-the-canal style hearing aid like Eargo. The virtually invisible fit, natural sound quality and security of knowing a face mask won’t flip them off your ears, has made Eargo a leading choice for people with hearing loss. As an added plus, they also don’t get in the way of glasses, hats, and are easier to use during physical activity.
  3. Don’t hesitate to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves. People are very understanding these days and you are your best advocate.
  4. If your hearing aids allow for unique programming settings (like Eargo), you could have a separate listening program with increased loudness in the high frequencies when talking to people with masks.

Helpful tips if you’re not using hearing aids

  1. If you think you have hearing loss, you could start with an online hearing screening. Eargo provides a unique option available on our website by clicking here. We also have a highly skilled team of hearing professionals who can help you understand your hearing ability and if Eargo is the right solution for you. They can be reached at 1 (800) 903-6883.
  2. Another option is to arrange an Eargo virtual consultation appointment with one of our hearing professionals. During this appointment you’ll have a video consultation to have all your hearing questions answered, watch a demonstration of Eargo hearing aids, and ultimately discover if Eargo is right for you.
  3. Every day, the Eargo team talks with people looking for innovative hearing aid options and ways to purchase them without making several visits to a hearing aid office. Eargo offers a proven telecare experience and complete hearing care solution with an expert team of licensed hearing professionals for support. Our 45-day no-risk trial period makes it easy to try Eargo in your familiar everyday surroundings to prove how better hearing sounds.

During Covid-19, conversation has never been more important, and challenging. Staying in touch with family, friends, and co-workers is critical for our mental health and well-being. Making certain critical health, financial, and other personal information is correctly understood is also a priority during these unpredictable times. Please know that Eargo has your back and we encourage you to take control of your hearing with our team of experts so communication is one less thing to worry you.