Masks have made me rethink how soon I need new hearing aid

Those with a mild to mid level hearing loss might want to ignore this post. But for the time being I’m going to keep my old hearing aids and struggle though with “say that again”.
As many here know as the years go by and you lose your hearing it gets harder and harder to find that “semi-perfect” hearing aid. It’s pretty much hit and miss and hoping new technology some how makes up for thousands of dead ear nerve fibers.

But the other day I said to myself - "why beat yourself up trying to find that semi-perfect hearing aid with the coronavirus out of control and everyone - every where probably wearing masks for the next two years plus. I would say the odds of that happening are 95% and if true those with a severe to profound hearing loss then have two Major Strikes against them.

Strike One - the wearing of a mask does muffle some sounds, thus a person with a hearing loss is not going to be challenged to hear many of those muffled sound/words on a daily basis. More so if someone has a severe hearing loss. Heck even people with normal hearing might be having some difficulty hearing speech during mask to mask communication.

Strike Two - Now I don’t feel I’m a lip reader by any stretch of the imagination but I do know that when some one is talking to me I look directly at them and many times watch their mouth move. Lets just say I’m programmed to watch all facial movement, while trying to figure out what’s being talked about. But for the next two years (plus) you can kiss lip reading good bye due to everyone wearing masks. Well except for our short term President.

So taking in those two factors above I’ve realized I really don’t need to rush things and try to find that “semi-perfect hearing aid” right now. Of course if my old aids break down or I happened to lose them, or my dog got chew happy, then yea its time to find replacements. But as long as we all have to wear these “non-hearing friendly” masks - that just happen to save lives, I’ll take my time and probably look into buying a new hearing aid in 2021 or later.

No one likes to buy a new expensive toy and not be able to use it to its full capabilities. Even the hearing impaired.


There are clear mask available. Hospitals have them for deaf patients.

Sometimes l have to ask them nicely to remove his/her mask for just a few sentences for those not having the clear masks.


Clear masks are cool, but how do we get the rest of the world to use them?


Hate to think I have to go to a hospital just to find someone with a “clear” mask. Bottom line - the new world we live in now with soon be “mandatory” masks across the board that will unfortunately reduce the effectiveness of hearing aids. Hopefully its short term, but short term still could be two, three years.


The masks do muffle sound and make my amateur lip reading impossible. But worse for me, at least, are the plexiglass panels that seem to be everywhere these days. Trying to make sense of the sound that leaks past the edges of those things is next to impossible for me. So far, no one has lost their patience with me, indicating that the folks with more or less normal hearing have problems with them too. I know they are necessary to keep droplets and aerosols out of the faces of those behind them, but they are even more sound dampening for me than masks. Unless something new technology wise comes out soon, I will not be getting new aids. I have the latest and greatest and they do nothing for me.


Its almost as if you’re now buying hearing aids for home use alone, where masks are not required. What worries me is that masks will be required/mandated until a vaccine is found. But if 30% of U.S. population says “Not for me” to any break through - life saving vaccine, then who knows how long we will all have to wear masks. So now when you sit in a audiometric booth and do a word recognition test - should the recorded/spoken words you listen to be someone talking with or without a mask on?

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Spectrumplay, good analysis. I think people with mild hearing may not realise they have a people as they have been unconsciously lip reading. I use Phonak Marvel now and they are much better but agree that a mask can still muffle sounds. I had a close consultation with an optician and switched my aids to restaurant mode, ie focussed towards the optician. That worked until he turned his head away as he operated his computer.
If you think your aids are not doing what you want, consider a trial where voices are muffled by masks.

Your theories are pretty much spot on. My high deductible insurance only pays towards HAs after you hit your deductible. Normally we don’t even come close, but since DH broke his arm we’ll probably hit it this year. So if that happens (waiting on the bills!) I’ll go ahead & buy HAs while I can get at least one ear paid by the insurance ($2.5K).

I’m with you on this but try Zazzle for a personalized mask that identifies you as hard of hearing or as needing to “read lips” even if you don’t, you still need to see the face to hear. When I catch people struggling to hear me, the mask comes down full stop and everyone relaxes (as long as we keep our distance!). I’ve also ordered clear window masks for when I need to communicate with people consistently and will need to see their face. I’m still waiting for them to arrive but looking forward to having them on hand if worse comes to worse. The gift of having hearing aids that work well also has a lot to do with your brain adjusting to them. Saying you’ll wait a year or two and accept defeat to hear impaired then (my opinion only) you’re only making yourself suffer, unfortunately. And, for the long run. Still nice to hear birds and the wind in the trees. I hope you decide to seek out well fitted aids.
Wear it loud, wear it proud. I’m even wearing a pin that says "I’M DEAF (please speak clearly)"even though I have some hearing with my aids, it’s okay to let people think it’s worse than it is so accommodations can be made for you. I hope you can rise up and take action regardless of the current events. There are ways to cope and circumstances that not hearing the cashier or whoever on a limited basis isn’t a huge deal. They try talking to me and I just point to my pin and they either show me their face or give up and that’s fine with me. I wish you the best of luck!


Everyone is a lip reader whether they realize it or not. I have had many people with normal hearing tell me they struggle carrying on a conversation with someone wearing a mask. So for me a mask wearing person is all but a lost cause. At first I struggled putting on a mask or removing it with my bte aids. Now it’s all but a non issue. Instead I sigh because I have to wear the mask at all. I go about my business as best I can and take the necessary precautions. I have new aids because without them I’m deaf. The virus is a royal pain and I, like everyone wishes it would go away. It’s an inconvenience to say the least but so is my hearing loss and I have learned to deal with it the best I can. Same with the virus. I’ll deal with it and all the inconveniences that come with it. But I’m not going to let it control me. I’ll just be careful. Hopefully by the end of this year it will be nothing more than something for the history books. Like me.

AMEN! Recently saw a dentist and with both mask and face shield I could NOT understand. Once he was done looking in my mouth, he removed faceshield to continue discussion and I could actually comprehend!

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Except you can’t pass around pen as its a contaminated contact surface. So we need to have a disinfecting cloth that we wipe pen, keep holding it in cloth and the other takes it.

I tell them to write it on cell notepad

Hopefully each on their own cellphone. :joy:

But yeah, contaminated surfaces are all around. There’s mask obligation everywhere but when I want to pay, they even take my card, but definitely I need to enter pin, and I never saw anyone wipe the device, or they give me a pen to sign a slip, again, no wiping on the horizon.

We’re ordinary people, not trained surgeons that follow protocols and whole environment they’re in is sterile. That’s just not going to work in real life. People will pass pens, have no clue what’s 2m distance, and will remove just a little mask from their nose if they’re wearing glasses because they can’t see anymore :joy:

So only thing we can do is to wash our hands and not touch our nose or eyes with unwashed hands. And do our best. And yes, we should clean the phones as well when we come home. :joy:

However, our body won’t get sick immediately if it encounters few virus cells. Sickness comes from big numbers and/or weak immune system.

That’s why even these weak measures (pathetic cloth and 2m where half the nation have no clue what’s 2m) with many mishaps still works against rapid spreading. Because people are washing their hands much regularly than in usual times of flu, and even 1m distance and cloth mask is better than sneazing in the air towards someone.

Japan who has a culture of wearing mask when sick I think has very low numbers of covid per million inhabitants. I found something like 200.

So maybe one good thing comes out of this horror - we’ll start taking viruses seriously and will wear mask when we have a cold or flu, and we’ll wash hands and keep some distance from other people when we’re sick.

I hope we will. Otherwise we’re screwed when another airborne virus hits and it isn’t forgiving as flu or covid are.

Forgiving isn’t sarcastically, because not everyone who got sick, died. Currently numbers are still cooking, and it’s also hard to say correctly because not everyone who got it went being tested so we don’t know exact number of cases, so deaths per case isn’t that correct.

Ballpark is that we’re in 1-5%, so that of 100 who got sick, only 1 to 5 die (it’s different also per age and other groups).

And this already is horrible, no doubt.
I can’t imagine the catastrophe what would be with some virus with 10-20% of death rate and speed of spreading like covid, and we don’t take it seriously. Us not taking it seriously from the start cost us a lot already, but still, we got lucky, even if it sounds ironic…

In short - I think it’s definitely worth investing in aids and equipment that helps us hear through the masks and obstacles because we should not forget this pandemic and we should implement those measures all year round, but on person-base (if you’re sick, wear mask and don’t spread it around) not national wide like now when masks are obligatory. However, adding some distance is never bad idea. We should spare other people of our spit while talking :joy:

I’ve only used the pen & pad to “hear” when the speaker is behind a plexiglass screen. I turned back the top sheet (what I’m writing on) and had no trouble getting a single sheet to come loose from the others (which somewhat surprised me, but it is cheap, rough paper). I turn that to them. Both times the person has gotten the hint and torn it off. They were at a station with pens, so no problems with the pen, which I’m certainly not going to share. They probably had plenty of scrap paper too, but just hadn’t though of writing.

I’ve also had people pull down their face masks, at which point I just walk away.

I may not hear masked people as well as non-masked, but so far I’ve been able to deal, and it’s certainly better than I heard BHA (before hearing aids). And as for phone and television, my latest KS9s would be worth it for that only. I’d pretty much given up on watching t.v. or having telephone conversations until aids, and the KS9s make both easy enough I do them without worry instead of considering each time if I want to go to the bother of pairing everything that needed pairing each time before, which was how it was with my first aids that required an intermediary device.

If they have a plexiglass i want them to take off their masks. I was at Costco today, it’s so noisy, i could not hear what that say even before plexiglass and mask. But now it’s impossible. Even my daughter who hears rather well could not help me. I had my focus on with Roger pen. I inserted own under plexiglass where they pass debit terminal, aimed at her, said i was hard of hearing, she pulled her mask down and i heard her well. :frowning: This covid thing is hard

I find the plexiglass thing puzzling. At least here in Colorado in the stores I go to, the shields are forward toward the cash register and don’t extend back to the payment machine and bagging area. So if questions and answers are necessary, everyone just moves back where the plexiglass isn’t. The shields seem a useless gesture, like the much-ignored arrows on the floor trying to direct traffic in and out of aisles.

As to Costco, there isn’t much anyone has to say I need to hear. They check me out fast, and the only question is, “Do you want a box?” I don’t have to be able to hear and understand to know that’s what the bagger is asking. They seem to hear my “Yes” or “No” just fine.

Well today i did am exclisively pantry fill run. So almosy everything in cart was “heavy”. I was unpacking basket full of items and she comes to me and seems to be talking. I think she is talking. But i cant hear her. So she takes my stuff and puts them back in cart. I figured it out. So i only took small stuff about 5 things out of cart. She then attempted to scan everything in my basket. Hahaha. It took 5 times of countinf my items and a supervisor bo check to make sUre everything got scanned

Then she asked through the plexiglass and mask about 4 times i could not understand. But it was are all these together. I expect cash er debit. I expect hello goodbye. Was not expecting that. Funny art is my daughter did not hear her either. Costco is just toooo loud

It’s kind of ironic in a way. I just bought my first hearing aid and I bought it mainly to be able to understand voices in crowded settings. In my job I usually attend a lot of meetings and trade shows.

Of course none of that is happening right now. Perhaps that’s a good thing as I have more time to get used to it in smaller gatherings.

My biggest problem with the masks is how the ear strap can get caught up in my (over the ear) hearing aid. I have learned how to deftly remove it now so it doesn’t happen as much but it takes some getting used to.