We’ve all been so used to the peace and quiet of being at home that walking back out in this noisy world can be jarring, especially for those with a treated hearing loss.

Not only might your hearing have changed, but your hearing aids might also need to be readjusted to be able to pick up or block out exactly what your hearing now needs.

We’ve heard reports of long-term effects of COVID-19 on the auditory system, such as new or worsening hearing loss, tinnitus, and vertigo. We hope this hasn’t been the case for you, but our team at Pacific Hearing, Inc. is here for you and ready to help with whatever testing, advice, or treatment you might need.

We’ve put together some tips to ensure you and your ears are prepared for the return to “normalcy.”

#1 – Check That Your Hearing Aids Are Correctly Programmed

You possibly won’t hear as well as you could before, and you might not hear well in settings with background noise. The only way to know for sure if your hearing has changed is by getting a hearing test so we can compare it to the last one.

Once we get the results, we can adjust your hearing aids to reflect your new hearing needs, which includes the settings for background noise.

If you don’t adjust your hearing aids properly when they need it, you won’t get stimulation to all the areas of your inner ear, and studies have shown that the areas that don’t get stimulation can atrophy and eventually die.

This can also be a good time to look into upgrading your hearing aids to avail of the latest technology. Some of the newer features make everything you need to hear crisp and clear and also cut out a lot more unwanted background noise.

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#2 – Be Careful When You’re Removing Your Mask

Patients have lost 20% more hearing aids than usual due to putting on or taking off the mask, causing the hearing aids to fall off the ear unnoticed. The string gets stuck under the hearing aid and then pulls the aid off with it.

To avoid this, put the mask on after the hearing aid so the string sits outside the loop.

If you’ve lost your hearing aid, most hearing aid manufacturers have a “Find My Hearing Aid” app, and Apple has a “Find My iPhone” app. If you don’t know how to use it, contact our office so we can guide you through it.

#3 – Adapting To Your Environments 

When you’re planning to attend social events, such as meals at restaurants, try to go when the restaurant will have the fewest people (early or weekdays). Go to places that don’t have open spaces where the bar, kitchen, and seated areas are in the same room.

Also, face the people you want to hear, and put your back to the people you don’t want to hear. The hearing aid will reduce the sound behind you by 50% or more.

#4 – Protect Your Hearing

Noise-induced hearing loss occurs with being around loud sounds, and the degree of loss depends on the volume level of the noise as well as how long you are in the loud noise environment.

Prevention is always better than cure, so keep the volume on your AirPods or other earbuds down so you don’t cause further hearing loss.

Also, whenever the noise is loud at any meeting or event, or you are wondering if it is loud enough to cause hearing loss, put in earplugs or leave as soon as possible. And talk to us about your environments. We have lots of suggestions for prevention.

If You Suspect Your Hearing Has Changed Over COVID-19

Contact our office to make an appointment. We’ll determine if there is a problem and fix it.

Many times it may be a further loss of hearing causing the problem. If so, we will do a new hearing assessment and adjust the hearing aid for maximal performance based on the new hearing loss.

We look forward to helping you in these times.

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Gregory Frazer, PhD, AuD, CCC-A, ABA, NBC-HIS

Dr. Gregory Frazer entered private practice Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensing in 1982. For 14 years he owned and operated Hearing Care Associates, which had 23 offices and was one of the largest audiology private practices in the U.S. Dr. Frazer is a well-known clinician and teacher and was the first audiologist to obtain dual doctorates in Audiology, both a PhD. in Audiology as well as the new Clinical Doctorate of Audiology, the AuD. He is Board Certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, American Academy of Audiology, and the National Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences. Dr. Frazer specializes in the evaluation and treatment of vertigo, dizziness, and hearing and balance disorders. Dr. Frazer is experienced in working with infants, children, and adults. He is semi-fluent in Spanish and Sign Language.