Challenges of Living with Hearing Loss during COVID-19

Challenges of Living with Hearing Loss during COVID-19

Written by Samantha Share

During these challenging times, it is clear that many individuals and families are suffering, and for that, I am saddened and proud that Share Lawyers can support some people in need (specifically those with disabilities). Today, I want to talk about a new challenge that has come up for the population of people who are hard of hearing or deaf, and I can speak to that because I have a hearing loss. 

People who experience hearing loss are faced with a whole new level of challenges now that social distancing and mask-wearing safety precautions are in place. This subject is very personal to me, as well as my family. Deafness and other serious hearing loss is a disability that can truly be invisible (and even undetectable) in one’s early years – and my own story reflects as much. It wasn’t until I was age four in Junior Kindergarten that I had a standard school screening hearing test that identified I had a problem with my hearing. 

As someone who has been hard of hearing her whole life, I had no choice but to become skilled early on at lip reading and reading facial expressions to gain full comprehension of what the person was trying to say. Over the years I, like many others who share this disability,  developed lip-reading skills that could be employed from 20 feet across a room – and could sometimes be the difference between understanding what was being said to me or not being quite sure. 

Despite the challenges I’ve faced in my life, I’m one of the luckier ones suffering from hearing loss while not being completely deaf (I wear hearing aids, but still have hearing without them).

When I read the CBC News story last week detailing the struggles of those with hearing loss to understand and communicate with their peers in the new mask-wearing world mandated by COVID-19, it resonated as a series of challenges I now face in my daily life as well. Behind the new normal of society’s masks, those hard of hearing are left with muted sound and invisible facial features and will require empathy and patience to help see them through this period of vulnerability. 

It warms my heart greatly to see members of the community like Meredith Brookings, owner of Couture Alterations in Whitby, Ont, who pivoted her wedding gown tailoring business to answer a request from the Hellen Keller Centre and design clear masks that people can wear to have their lips still visible for the hearing impaired. It’s action like this that ensures that no vulnerable member of society is ever left behind. 

As more information comes to light regarding business owners rallying together to manufacture safety equipment that can be worn by everyone, the onus remains on you and me to spread the word and normalize the use of this special equipment. As a unified force of support and compassion, we can ensure that every person’s voice continues to be heard. I am committed to this in work every day as a disability insurance lawyer. Now and always, Share is there. 

Has your long-term disability claim been denied? Contact Share Lawyers and put our experience to work for you. We have recently settled cases against Great-West Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and many more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.