Meandering Through A Hearing World
Tips for Hearing during Covid 19
I had the opportunity to virtually attend Shari Eberts’s excellent presentation titled: How to Hear Better During The Pandemic. Florida Hearing Loss Association of America hosted Shari’s talk by way of a Zoom session. Captioning was available.
Shari began her talk by emphasizing the importance of hearing well as we go about our sheltered lives. The struggle to hear brings on exhaustion, and it was suggested that the best way to mitigate that exhaustion is by wearing our aids and implants and using accessory hearing devices.
Shari mentioned the importance of a daily routine, eating well, and avoiding snacks. Be wary of the Covid-19-15, she said, referring to how easy it is to gain fifteen pounds if you overeat and become sedentary. She suggested moving around after each hour of sitting. Set a timer or use the alarm on your phone or other device to remind you to get up.
Shari talked about the importance of keeping busy. While sheltering, it is easy to assume that your life does not matter. She suggested online book clubs, apps for museum tours, concerts, and university level classes as great ways to help you stay focused and engaged.
She mentioned apps such as Calm and Head Space that help people decompress. Maintaining connections with friends and family is vitally important. Google Meet and Zoom have captioning capabilities and are both great ways to communicate with your loved ones.
Since we are all vulnerable to the virus and other illnesses, Shari emphasized the importance of being prepared for emergencies. Always make sure you have sufficient batteries and if possible an extra pair of hearing aids. You should know how to contact your doctor or pharmacist remotely. It’s best to have a list of the medications in your purse or wallet or on your phone. If you are admitted to a hospital, be sure to request hearing help. Ask healthcare providers to note your hearing loss in your chart, and let anyone who enters your room know that you suffer from hearing loss. Request that your providers wear a clear mask so that you are able to read lips.
Shari reminded us that some audiologists can see and adjust aids and implants remotely. Many audiologists have curbside service for dropping off and picking up aids. During the pandemic, it is wise to have backup devices in case aids need to be sent to a manufacturer for repairs.
Shari emphasized that our rights under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) did not go away with the pandemic. We have to be our own hearing advocates, unafraid to ask for help when we need it. Healthcare offices, schools, and businesses are still required to provide what you need to hear.
She reiterated the difficulties of hearing while we are wearing masks. Be patient when out and about, and be ready with accessory devices such as mini mics or Roger’s pens or whatever helps you hear. If technology fails, don’t be afraid to ask someone to write down what they are trying to say to you. Look for the type of mask that fits well with your hearing aids or implants. Often, people with hearing loss conclude that tie masks are better than masks that attach behind the ear.
I gained much information from Shari’s delightful talk. The Florida Hearing Loss Association of America as well as Hearing Loss Association of America, ALDA, and most local chapters of these organizations put on webinars and zoom meetings with topics about hearing loss. Attending these online sessions is a great way to stay in touch during the pandemic. As we meander through the hearing world, knowing there are like-minded souls with the same hearing problems helps us to cope.