The Mask Problem: Solved

No question about it, masks have been a pain for people with hearing aids. The elastic ear piece gets tangled with the behind-the-ear hearing-aid component and sometimes pulls it off. Wearing a mask has been not only annoying but sometimes disastrous when coupled with hearing aids or cochlear implants. I lost a cochlear implant (found by a neighbor, thankfully).

But most of us wore them anyway, each figuring out our own imperfect solution. Take off the hearing aid? Anchor everything with a hat? Get new, completely in-the-ear hearing aids? Use a mask that goes behind the head rather than behind the ear?

My solution was to take off my c.i. when I wore a mask. The mask still got tangled with the hearing aid in my other ear, but it was easier to manage. Not wearing my cochlear implant definitely negatively impacted my hearing, and not wearing your cochlear implant is not a good idea. Nor is not wearing a mask until the CDC tells us it’s okay.

Last week I was at my audiologist’s office and I noticed she was wearing a headband with one large button on each side just behind the ear. Her mask looped over the buttons. She doesn’t wear hearing aids but her ears get tired wearing a mask all day, she told me, and the mask is much more comfortable with the headband, which goes over the ears.

Genius!

The minute I got home I Googled “headband with buttons for mask” and up came dozens of choices. I ordered one headband to try it out. It was perfect. Soft, stretchy, tight enough to fit but not give me a headache. Then I ordered three more, in different colors and patterns.

I won’t name the brand because what works for me might not work for you. But Google “headband with buttons for mask” and take your pick. Or go to a store like Walmart.

I have no need for four headbands, but I love them. They’re fun. They’re also great for sports, and fit both men and women.

Pictured above are just some of the many choices. (Clearly I’m a bit late to this discovery.) Prices vary widely. Most expensive is not necessarily best.

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For more about living with hearing loss, read my books “Smart Hearing: Strategies, Skills and Resources for Living Better With Hearing Loss” and “Shouting Won’t Help: Why I and 50 Million Other Americans Can’t Hear You.” Both are available as ebook and paperback on Amazon.com.