Masks and distance make it hard to hear, but here’s how to help
The already difficult situation for people with hearing loss has worsened. Philadelphia / Getty Images The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all Americans wear facial ingots when they are in public. Hospitals across the country are assuming everyone who walks in the door has a potential Covid-19 case, so patients wear masks and come alone. These changes pose potential communication problems for about 60 million Americans, who live with hearing loss, with mild difficulty in one or both ears causing severe damage or deafness. Most people with hearing loss have never had a hearing test and do not use hearing aids, especially in a population affected by health inequality. For example, Hispanic / Latino adults use hearing aids using only 5% of hearing loss. With my idiology and public health colleagues of the Hispanic Hearing Healthcare Access Access connection, we strongly recommend that communities take special measures to stay connected to hearing strictly at this time. Wearing a mask and social distance present a real problem for many people with hearing loss. Rigid hearing is designed to use visual cues, such as watching each other’s lips move, to help the human brain understand speech. Wearing a mask removes this important visual information. By sound, the face mask muffles the speech. Donating a mask to a hearing aid or cochlear implant can be problematic or uncomfortable – which is why some remove their hearing aids. The need to be at least six feet apart for social distance can make speech more difficult to hear and understand. As the distance increases, the noise level decreases. Research shows that hearing loss makes it more challenging to focus on speech comprehension. People cannot rely on epidemic bias to compensate, such as leaning closer, watching a person speak, or bringing a loved one to the hospital for help. Image Source / Getty Images Research shows that background noise in a hospital makes it difficult to hear, understand and absorb key information, while memory is disturbed even if what is said at the moment is heard. After measuring the sound level at the Reagan Veterans Hospital in Portland, the researchers recorded background noise from the medical and surgical wards, then tested the critically ill patients. In the best case of low noise, only 58% of patients admitted to the hospital with moderate hearing loss from the hospital hospital can memorize key words. Noise has been tested in the hospital which has reached a hospital 0% recall. All of these disruptions can have serious consequences. People with hidden or unfamiliar hearing loss can now be exposed, as their coping strategies are disrupted. In this new reality, people who are hearing and deaf will not be able to access health recommendations, learn about the services available, or make informed decisions about their own care when the speech is just hearing impaired. This is especially true for people in hospitals, nursing homes or for quarantine, who can suddenly isolate themselves without the help of family or friends. Enhancing Communication The good news is that simple, effective strategies can speed up communication during and beyond the time of wearing this time mask. Laura Coco, AUD, Ph.D. A candidate from the University of Arizona demonstrates the use of teleodiology to connect remotely with someone with a cochlear implant. Laura Coco, AUD, CC BY faces each other at a safe distance of at least six feet. Maintaining eye contact enhances social cohesion and keeps the focus on communication. Speak more slowly and carefully to make it easier for the audience. Speakers often try to compensate by projecting naturally, but a more effective approach is to call out more clearly, with a big exclamation. Ask others to repeat what you said to confirm the message, not just listen. For health care providers, to ensure understanding, this discussion requires a “back-to-back” strategy, whether the discussion is personal or remote. Real-time communication can improve communication in telehealth, virtual meetings and education online learning. Ask a deaf or hard of hearing person, “How can I make the best contact with you?” If the listener is having trouble understanding your message, try focusing the information again. Write your message or try a text from a speech if you’re having trouble hearing someone. Brian Wong, AUD, Ideologist and Ph.D. A student at the University of Arizona makes facial shawls for local Tucson hospitals. Brian Wong, AUD, CC BY Choose quiet spaces with a little background sound for improved listening. If available, use or create a clear mask or facial ield, which will help restore visual information in the speech. Discover and offer many forms of communication, such as text or real-time capturing and assistive technology. For those who use American Sign Language, qualified interpreters can be accessed via video relay. People with hearing loss or joint hearing and vision loss want to bring them to the hospital with a printed communication card. The Hearing Loss Association of America and the National Association of the Deaf are sharing guidance for patients and providers. Following these recommendations enables people to communicate more effectively with the rigor of hearing. While many things are out of control at the moment, everyone can choose a communication strategy that will help each other. [You need to understand the coronavirus pandemic, and we can help. Read The Conversation’s newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversion, a for-profit news site dedicated to sharing the views of academic experts. It was written by: Nicole Maron, University of Arizona. Read more: Deaf Christians often struggle to hear the word of God, but to some it means prosperity in who they are Older Americans risk coronavirus to get their drugs Older abuse increases, without awareness, Nicole Marrow patient- Focused results receive funding from research institutes. PC (PCORI) Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award (EA-15629-UOA), National Institute on Deaf and Other Communication Disorders (NIDDC) of the National Institutes of Health (R33DC015062), and the Arizona Community Foundation.