Hearing Loss Outed by COVID-19
No place to hide
Yes, hearing loss became truly a family affair during COVID isolation and quarantine. There was no way to hide 24/7 when conversations became labored for those with hearing loss. Family members grew weary in a hurry of having to confront the communication struggles every single day. One lady shared that she had to say everything at least twice. Her least favorite word and question became “what?”
A hot market for assistive devices
A representative for the company that makes a popular assistive listening device told me that they ran out of this particular product during COVID, which took them by surprise. Although they do not help everybody and do not replace hearing aids, assistive devices can improve hearing quality quite a bit.
And so, plenty of people must have googled frantically with the purpose of finding some type of technology that could smooth communication hassles instantaneously during the times of virus-imposed house arrest.
Reclaiming their place
Many with hearing challenges might well have had their first exposure to assistive technology courtesy of COVID. Hopefully, any bit of hearing improvement has convinced them to quit their ongoing denial of hearing loss and has encouraged them to reclaim their places at the table during family discussions. It feels good to be included and to contribute again.
No going back now
Although they might like the results of an assistive device, people often object to them because they are visible. However, after experiencing the difference that such a product can make, one hopes that people will decide that enough is enough. Time has come to take action – which starts with a professional hearing test.
Where is the problem and how can it be helped? Hearing aids might not be an acceptable answer for many. Might apps turn the smartphone into an assistive communication tool? Keep on searching for answers! Now is not the time to give up and to revert to old, unproductive and disruptive habits.
And so, COVID has indeed outed their hearing struggles for many. Yet, having people emerge from home isolation with a renewed desire to get back into the communication fold with their families and work communities could be at least one good outcome of this dreadful pandemic.
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