2020 brought about a myriad of challenges for the world, with healthcare being one of the most prominently affected. In the midst of doing all that we could to avoid contracting the coronavirus, one major side effect of preventative measures was the increased recognition of an already raging pandemic of hearing loss.
Every new patient I have coming through the front door answers my first question of “how do you feel you have been hearing?” with the same general response:
“This past year has been the absolute worst with these masks. I can’t see you talking to me. I can’t see your lips.”
I respond to each one with the same question, too:
“If you shut your eyes, is it just as bad?”
Lip reading (or speech reading) is a common and natural practice for people to begin to develop and rely upon as hearing loss begins to creep into life. We all know that as one sense begins to decline, others become more heightened to assist. This is your vision finding a way to accommodate when your hearing is no longer getting the job done.
Masks, while covering our mouths, unveiled our ears: and our loss.
– Brooke Howard, HIS