Reviewed by Dr. Porter on April 15, 2021
Wearing a face mask when you go out can be a pain if you wear hearing aids that fit over your ears. The elastic bands securing your mask to your ear can get in the way of the wire that connects your hearing aid outside your ear to the speaker fitted inside your ear. And when you take off your face mask, it’s not uncommon to pull out your hearing aids, too.
Fortunately, there are ways to wear a face mask that keep you comfortable and keep your hearing aids in place. Here are seven suggestions from your audiologist at Harbor Audiology.
Get a mask with elastic bands that go around your head instead of around your ears
This is the simplest solution for preventing loss of your hearing aids when you take off your face mask.
Get a mask that has four strings that tie behind your head
Not all of us have the manual dexterity to wear this kind of mask, but it will be a lot more comfortable for your ears and taking it off won’t make your hearing aids come out.
When you take off your mask, make sure your hearing aids are still there
This is very basic advice, we know, but you can save hours of searching for lost hearing aids just by getting into the habit of checking every time you unmask. It’s a little awkward to check for your hearing aids when you are taking off your mask to eat a meal on a terrace or to sip a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop, but this simple check can prevent loss or damage to expensive hearing aids.
Think like a bank robber
No, we don’t mean you should compensate for financial challenges caused by the pandemic by taking up armed robbery. But we do think it’s a good idea to take a cue from bank robbers in how you attach your mask. Just put a piece of nylon fabric over your mask the way a bank robber puts nylon over his head (by this we mean putting nylon over your mask, not over your head) and skip the elastic sidebands.
Wear a neck gaiter
The usual recommendation here is to wear a neck gaiter or a scarf. The problem with this advice is that many jurisdictions do not find scarfs to be acceptable substitutes for face masks. However, neck gaiters are accepted almost everywhere, and no elastic side pieces are required. If you do pull out your hearing aids, your neck gaiter should catch them.
There are also masks that attach at your neck rather than at your ears, like a gaiter, but shorter.
OtoClips are lightweight lanyards that attach your hearing aids to your clothing, the lanyard around your hearing aid and an alligator clip attached to your clothes. If taking off your mask loosens your hearing aids, the OtoClip will catch them. These are handy even if you aren’t wearing a mask and you have issues with losing your hearing aids on a regular basis. They are also great for helping kids keep up with their hearing aids.
If you wear your hair in a ponytail or a bun, attach the side pieces to your hair
Anchoring the loop for your mask in a ponytail or a bun holds it tight. Of course, if you don’t have a ponytail or a bun, or you don’t have hair, you can always go with some of our earlier options.
There are many other ways to modify your masks for securing your hearing aids, but we decided to keep our list simple, requiring no sewing.
What do you do if you knock off your hearing aids while taking off your mask despite your best efforts?
- Don’t panic. Ask others around you to help in the search.
- Use the “Find My Hearing Aid” app on your smartphone if you have it. Harbor Audiology can give you more information about the brands of hearings with this location function.
- If all else fails, contact Harbor Audiology about your loss and damage policy.
Even when we no longer have to wear masks, everyone who has hearing aids will still need a locator app and a loss and damage policy. For all of your questions and all of your hearing aid needs, Harbor Audiology is here to help!