Social Distancing: What Does This Mean For People With Hearing Loss?

Managing hearing loss while social distancing

 

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have been hearing a lot about social distancing. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has asked British Columbians to practice social distancing to avoid the spread of COVID-19. 

 

What is social distancing?

  • Limit activities outside your home
  • Try connecting online or by phone with others
  • If you are out in public, try to keep 2 meters between yourself and others
  • Keep your hands at your side when possible
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Avoid social activities in large gatherings

While social distancing is essential to help stop the spread of COVID 19, it’s important to touch on the fact that this could be challenging for people with hearing loss. People with hearing loss often rely on visual information and proximity to the speaker to fully understand the conversation, even with their hearing aids in.

Hearing aids can help

Here are some ways hearing aids can be helpful during times of social distancing and self-isolation:

Partner or remote microphones

Most hearing aids have the option of connecting to a manufacturer-specific remote microphone. This can be worn by a family member and can transmit their voice to the individual’s hearing aids. Many of these devices can work up to a distance of 30 or more feet. If you have questions about how to use your microphone or to see if your hearing aids are compatible with one, email us at erin@broadmeadhearing.com

Facetime/Skype/Video calls 

Most hearing aids can connect wirelessly to your phone, tablet or computer. Free applications such as Facetime, Skype and other video platforms allow the hearing aid user to hear the person’s voice and see their face while having a conversation. It helps them pick up on visual cues and facial expressions that would otherwise be inaccessible in a normal phone call. 

Enable closed captioning

The best recommendation is to stay home right now. As you are staying home and perhaps watching the news, make sure you enable closed captioning on your television so that you can get typed words at the same time as hearing. Many news reporters speak quickly and sometimes parts of a message are missed. Most hearing aids are able to directly connect to your television using a manufacturer specific Bluetooth adaptor. The sound from the TV can stream directly into your hearing aids. If you are unsure if your hearing aids can do this, feel free to email erin@broadmeadhearing.com

Take care of each other

Now is the time to take care of our community by participating in social distancing and do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Broadmead and Oak Bay Hearing Clinics are here to assist you during this time. We are not seeing patients in person, except for emergency cases. You will notice social distance practices in our offices (telehealth appointments, drive-through hearing for clients in need of supplies, and emergency services). For accurate updates and information, there is a new app called BC COVID-19 Support available from the government of BC that you may find useful. We will continue to update you as more information unfolds.