RSA claims data shows that the number of claims against home insurance for lost hearing aids has rocketed by 68% since face coverings were made mandatory in July.
Although face coverings are a necessary and important way of reducing the spread of COVID-19, they are also inadvertently causing challenges for those with hearing loss.
With hearing loss affecting 12 million people in the UK, many hearing aid users have expressed how face coverings, which are worn around the ears, are dislodging their devices. With face coverings also creating difficulties lipreading and causing muffled speech, many of those with hearing loss have become more reliant on hearing aids, so losing these devices can have a significant impact on their daily lives.
One hearing aid user, veterinary surgeon Jemma Sulsh from Surrey, said: “Not being able to lipread other people while wearing a face covering is really affecting me. My job involves speaking to pet owners and listening to concerns they have, which is made a lot more difficult when the sound is muffled. My hearing aids also often get caught when I take the face covering off and I get worried about losing or damaging them. This is such an important issue to raise awareness of and the day-to-day challenges of wearing a face covering with hearing aids.”
Tips on keeping your hearing aid secure
RNID, the charity making life fully inclusive for deaf people and those with hearing loss or tinnitus, provides guidance for people experiencing problems with their face covering and hearing aids. The charity has published useful tips on how to wear a face covering if you use hearing aids or a cochlear implant. They say:
- Face coverings that tie around your head and do not touch your ears will help keep your hearing aids or cochlear implant processor secure
- If you have a face covering that has elastic straps, try a mask extender, which you use to link the straps at the back of your head. You can buy these, make your own, or try something similar by adding an extra piece of material to tie the straps together at the back of your head
- Try to only remove your face covering when you are in a place where your hearing aid or cochlear implant processor could be easily found if it falls out
- If you are concerned about losing your hearing aid or cochlear implant processor, consider using safety line or retention cords.