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Social Distancing Can Be Hard on People with Hearing Loss

Tips and Resources to Help You Cope

By Elizabeth Rooney
March 25, 2020
A man looks at a tablet

Social distancing is impacting everyone, but it can be particularly hard on people who have hearing loss. These tips and resources from Duke audiologists will help you get the most out of your hearing aids and cochlear implants.

Tips for Hearing Loss and Staying Home

  • Use video calls to communicate with your family and practice listening skills. 
  • Put on closed captioning for TV and use TV listening devices. 
  • If your tinnitus seems worse during this time, use sound therapy or practice relaxation techniques. The American Tinnitus Association has many useful coping tips. 
  • If you are working from home or participating in remote classes, be sure all accommodations you may need are provided. Reach out to your employer's human resources department or your school’s disability office for further help.  
  • Contact your audiologist if you need help during this time. We can provide guidance through My Duke Health, email, phone calls, and clinic visits, if necessary. 

Listening Tips for Individuals with Hearing Loss

  • Tell speakers that you have hearing loss. Do not pretend to understand. Give suggestions about how they can help you hear better. 
  • Don't be afraid to ask people to repeat, rephrase, or speak louder. 
  • Remind people to look at and speak directly to you. 
  • Take advantage of visual cues. Watch the speaker and pay attention to their lips, facial expressions, gestures, and body language. 
  • Wear your glasses, if you have them. 
  • Take advantage of good lighting (light should come from behind you).