Pat Donovan and Janet Revelle, AuD, Director of Bacharach Hearing Centers
Hearing and hearing care are often dismissed as inconsequential compared to other aspects of healthcare. However, as we shelter in place, it becomes clear just how important good hearing is, especially for seniors and others with untreated hearing loss.
The stay-home orders are difficult for everyone, even those who have normal hearing. Human beings are social animals. We need to spend time with our friends and our families; we need to go to events and dine out and do all the things we collectively call “socialize.”
When we cannot do those things, we rely on phone calls and television and other remote communication technologies like face time and zoom meetings to help us keep our connections.
Hearing Loss and Technology Struggles
People with hearing loss are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to these technologies. They may not be able to hear well at all when they are on the phone. Distancing of 6 feet can further reduce speech sounds. Speech sounds can be muffled or distorted through masks or clear plastic guards that are now in place at many stores, pharmacies, and public areas.
On television, the reporters are mumbling their stories through a mask, which dulls speech sounds they emit, and which hides much of the face. Covered by a mask, the visual facial cues we rely on as part of normal communication are lost.
On top of the economic worries we all share, people with hearing loss worry more because they can’t get accurate information from the news.
And that zoom meeting? When you can’t really hear and understand your grandchild’s instructions about setting up the technology? Easier to decide it is too complicated.
Dr. Janet Revelle
And so begins a cycle of withdrawal, loneliness, and depression. It begins with the loss of a sense of purpose. People with hearing loss can feel that they are not important and that they are not connected.
That is why hearing care is essential. Good hearing care and the proper hearing instruments can restore the ability to understand and communicate with others. When we can communicate, we feel connected, appreciated and loved. Connected, we can socialize, even if it is from a distance.
In this time of social distancing, remote audiology telehealth services are available from our Hearing Centers to assist patients with their unique hearing needs.
As an important reminder, people with hearing aids need to be mindful that wearing masks or face coverings that reach over the ears can be problematic as hearing instruments can be dislodged and lost upon removal.
Now, more than ever, hearing care is essential healthcare. Hear Well, Stay Well!