The pandemic has made it a lonely time for everyone, but people with hearing loss are especially affected. Most of our daily communications have moved from face-to-face to phone or video calls. Between a lack of reliable visual cues and distorted sound quality, it’s all too easy to want to forego these communications entirely.
To keep you connected and combat feelings of loneliness, we’ve compiled some strategies you can incorporate into your daily life.
Create a Routine
We’re living in depressing times. To combat depression, it’s important to establish a routine. And while you may have had a routine that worked for you pre-pandemic, you can’t hold yourself to the same expectations anymore. Set specific times for work, chores, eating, exercising and socializing. Having some structure to your day will help you feel more productive and less stressed. It’s also good to spend some time of your day being busy and preoccupied and some time for resting in order to decompress.
While video calls can be frustrating when you have hearing loss, there are ways to make them more effective and hear better. First, you can request that speakers turn on their cameras in a well-lit room so you can read lips and watch facial expressions and gestures. There may be a lag that makes this difficult, but it’s still more helpful than audio alone.
You should also make sure to connect your hearing aids to your phone or computer so you can stream the audio directly (only for Bluetooth-enabled devices). If you don’t have Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids, you can use noise-canceling headphones to reduce background noise and enhance sound clarity.
Captioned phones are also available for free from companies like CaptionCall and CapTel.
Communicate Your Needs
Your loved ones want to stay connected and communicate with you, but they may need instructions for how to do so effectively. Make sure you advocate for yourself by giving suggestions for how they can help you hear better. These may include asking people to repeat, rephrase or speak up, and reminding people to say your name and face you (or the camera) when speaking.
If you’re a student or employee, talk to the office of disabilities or HR to make sure you’re taking advantage of all available accommodations.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist, call Indiana Hearing Specialists today.