Got reminded today that I have a hearing problem

I usually hear remarkably well considering my loss. Being retired and at home most of the time, I never wear my aids. Don’t need 'em. Now, with the pandemic, I wander out even less than before. Yesterday, I had a car failure which prompted me to have to go to town this morning. Had to get the wife to work, so didn’t do the usual morning routine. Visited the car repair place. No issues there. The fellow behind the counter spoke loud enough and plainly. That taken care of, I decided to visit a nearby Burger King for a breakfast gut bomb, also known as the Impossible Croissanwich. The young woman taking my order was behind the now standard plexiglass shield, and wore a mask. Had to ask my total twice. Not a big deal. After I had given her the money and received my change, she said something to me. I asked her to repeat. She did. I still had no clue what she would have been asking. I sometimes manage to fill in missing words if I know the general nature of the subject. Since I had paid and gotten my change, I didn’t know what else she might be saying. After the 3rd, or 4th time, we both gave up, and I walked down to the area where I would receive my food. After a couple of minute wait, the young woman behind the counter said something to me. I didn’t know what she had said, but reached out my hand to take the bag. Then, she said something else that looked like, from her expression, that she expected a response. I asked what she had said, and she repeated. I still had no clue. Finally, she said “Strawberry, or grape?” I replied “mustard! Who would ever put something sweet on something like this?”
As I walked out, I couldn’t help but think to myself that I really do have bad hearing. I haven’t worn my aids out lately because of the combination of mask bands, glasses, and aids at the same time on my ears is just too much to have to contend with. Anything similar happen to you?

All the time.
Now I step back and ask them to lower the mask and speak due to me being hard of hearing and read lips.

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Yes same here, no need to wear h aid about the house, no meetings to attend etc. But got caught out when visiting relatives who are quiet spoken people so wore mask. I offered to fetch coffees from shop and flipped h aid off ear when removed it. If I had worn aid in previous 3 mths, I might have been more careful. Also I did not have my usual mask on that goes around back of head and neck.

I find that it seems almost normal when I’m at home and most all my conversations are phone conversations streamed into my ears. Then on the rare occasions when I have a face-to-face conversation I have to bump up the volume on my HAs a couple of notches to understand. That’s usually all I need but sometimes I’ll have a conversation with an unfamiliar person with a mask on and I can hardly understand them even with the volume increased.

I wear glasses & HAs. I make sure to use the masks that tie around the back of the head/neck rather than the ones that loop behind the ear so I don’t risk pulling my HAs off. I really like the facemasks from Brighton, which you can buy online, as they have one strap that goes through both sides of the mask, so you only have to tie it in one place.

John that was a beautiful story that so hit home with me. The higher pitched female voices are always a challenge and with masks and shields they become unconquerable.

I used to do the not-wear-hearing aids around the house thing all the time with my last aids. With my current ones, I wear them every day. Even if I don’t interact with live people, there’s the advantages of phone calls direct to my aids. Even though I don’t get a lot of calls, there’s the t.v. sound direct to my aids. Even if I don’t watch t.v. that day, there’s being able to hear things like the microwave done beep from another room or one of my dogs wanting in without waiting till their banging on the door, etc.

And I’ve discovered that the computer videos I always avoided because I couldn’t understand them are comprehensible with these aids.

I do have some trouble with the muffled mask voices, but so far it’s not been too bad, and it’s definitely not as bad as it would be with naked ears. Of course my loss is not mild.

These last few weeks I’ve been doing several types of errands, new glasses, then reclamation on them, ENT exam, explaining that I want CI candidacy check so that I really know what I can count on in the future, arranging that (both doctor’s offices had high reverberation), ordering meat at new place where there is non trivial amount of noise (other customers, radio).

And two marvels. I must say that I understand a lot. Mostly they have to rephrase because I don’t know the word, but when they speak clearly, I definitely understand.
I didn’t have that feeling when I was trialling only one, I definitely felt burden of masks and using a lot of energy to figure out what is said.

So, I definitely feel for you, because I was there. Especially with my old aid, few years back, I would feel stupid because I didn’t hear what they said and their feedback looks didn’t help either.

After a while I was joking that I’m Mrs ‘my German is bad/I still learn’. Now I’m Mrs ‘I’m wearing hearing aids and my German isn’t that good’, and I must say, end results are much much better.

I guess people speak more clearly and somewhat slower and focus on you, and that helps even with masks now.

I’ve been on both sides of this fence, both as hearing impaired and having to deal with elderly parents who were hearing impaired. The typical “solution” to trying to communicate with somebody who is hearing impaired is raising one’s voice. I don’t have scientific studies to back it up, but my take is that repeatedly raising one’s voice is irritating and tends to make one angry. This doesn’t tend to help the situation.

It is tricky situation that I have been in on both sides of the issue. I asked my audiologist why I was having a hard time hearing people through a mask and vis versa. She explained that it was due to the loss of high frequency needed to hear clearly. She made a program that adjust to the missing frequencies and I do hear people better with people using a mask. If you explain the problem most people will try to help and do their best. I am also fluent in ASL which gives me another way to speak if I can’t hear. I also have used pen and paper to aid in the communication. I understand how tough this is and some in this forum have shared some good ways to deal with it. I wish you the best.

When I get up in the morning my aids are the first thing I go for after my glasses. And I wear my aids until it is time to get ready for bed. There was a time I could make it at home without my aids but no more. If I feel I need a break, I mute my aids, then read or nap.
And yes I have a lot of issues with the mask, but I have my work around for me, I wear a full face shield instead of the mask. It prevents the knocking my aids off and also my phobia with have something tight over my nose and mouth. I just wish the ones talking to me did the same thing so I could understand them without turning my hearing aid volume up so much.


You need to stop lying to yourself. YOU ARE FREAKING DEAF. Thats what I tell everyone. People around you say its okay, but roll thier eyes behind your back. Put your hearing aids in first thing in the morning. Don’t take them out till bedtime. You’ll be amazed what you’re missing. Mine don’t come out unless I start some equipment and I still miss so much.


Actually, having my aids on makes things worse in noisy situations. Wearing them all day, every day just makes me not want to wear them at all. I did that for 2 months at the insistence of the VA. Hated every minute of it. I recently acquired a Roger Pen, but haven’t had a good opportunity to try it. I don’t miss the sounds around home I no longer hear. I have become addicted to subtitles. Even if I can hear the dialogue perfectly well, I still look for them , just in case. I bought a TV Transmitter, and it works pretty well streaming TV to my aids. But, since I read the subtitles anyway, I don’t use it much anymore.

If you get a chance to use the Roger Pen you will like it a lot. I have used one in the past and it is great to clarify speech in a noisy situation. Good luck in your experience but it only works if where your hearing aids regularly and get them adjusted as needed. But you sound happy without them and that is okay too. Be aware that there is a price to pay for not treating hearing loss. Just be careful and take care. Good luck and thank you for sharing.

I had one such “conversation” a month or so back. New lady in the pharmacy, who I had not spoken to before. Screen, mask, new voice, no chance! I have got aids with newer cleverer facilities since and they are much better. With the old ones, I was having to ask for repeats from some people, but much improved now.

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I have had to move to the side of the plastic shields and ask people to repeat. I was at a bank and the teller was behind the shield AND looking away from me. I finally leaned around and said he’d have to repeat if he wanted me to understand him!

If you add a program that puts back the high frequencies then it will offset the ones lose from people who have mask on.

Looking at your audiogram I think the only one you’re fooling is yourself.

I’d suggest you learn to start wearing them and learn how to turn them down.
You’ll still be better off as opposed to not wearing them.

If you are happy no wearing your aids, then fine. A glance at your audiogram makes it clear: you are missing many, many sounds. The texture of life. Birds and chipmunks are nice to hear, but cars and trucks - a huge safety issue. Would you even know if a car went out of control and was heading over the lawn towards you? The beeps on the microwave, the ticking of the timer on the toaster oven, NOT hearing electrical appliances is a safety issue. If you continue to NOT wear your hearing aids, you need to take steps to adjust your home so that you and all who live there are safe. Smoke and CO2 alarms with light flashes are just a few of things you must do.

Don’t want to wear the hearing aids at home, fine, make the necessary changes to keep you and others safe. But the second you step off your property, put them on or you are a huge risk to everyone.