For many of us, the most challenging part of the CDC’s latest recommendation that everyone should wear a face mask* when going out during the Covid-19 epidemic is finding (or making) masks. However, for people with microtia or anotia, this is compounded by the difficulty of wearing a traditional mask with small or no external ear(s). Fortunately, there are ways around the challenge presented by traditional masks with loops for around the ears.
Making your own face masks for Covid-19 use
As mentioned above, one of the biggest challenges for everyone is figuring out how to follow the latest guidelines on covering your mouth and nose when having to go out for groceries or other necessities during the coronavirus outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have posted helpful DIY guidelines for making and using cloth face coverings on their website. These can be further adapted to fit people without ears using the suggestions below.
Add strings to face masks
If you are making your own face mask, instead of using traditional ear loops you can attach tie-able strings at the top and on the bottom corners. These can be comfortably tied around the head to fit without requiring ears or getting in the way of your bone anchored hearing device.
Attach buttons to a headband
If you happen to have a traditional medical mask — especially if you’re a healthcare worker — then altering a scarf, bandanna, or other adaptable headband to add buttons on either side of your head is a good workaround. You can then put the loops around the buttons in place of ears.
Use a paperclip
This is a clever and simple trick: take a paperclip, slide it around each ear loop on the mask to connect them in back, then put the mask on over your head and adjust comfortably.
Do you have any other DIY suggestions for making face masks wearable without ears? Please share in the comments!
We’d like to thank our friend Melissa Tumblin and Ear Community for allowing us to share these helpful tips and photo examples.
*Masks featured in this post are not N95-rated or surgical grade.
A message from our Oticon Medical US president
At Oticon Medical we take the well-being of our community and colleagues seriously and are monitoring the developing coronavirus outbreak closely.
Currently, we have implemented procedures for continuing to operate our business so we may service our customers while also supporting the authorities’ work to contain the risk of infection.
Oticon Medical USA’s guidelines for activities in and around our company follow the guidance of our national health organizations, and in some cases, we are even more cautious. We will constantly update our policy to reflect any changes in guidance from authorities.
Our first priority is the health of you, your clients and patients, and our staff. We are doing our best to ensure our service to you is maintained as much as possible given the circumstances. We are taking all possible actions to ensure reliable production, insurance services, device repairs, and deliveries continue. And our local Oticon Medical personnel is instructed to familiarize themselves with and always follow the health guidelines of local hospitals and clinics.
We greatly appreciate your understanding and thank you for your loyalty to Oticon Medical. We also appreciate that this outbreak affects not only your cooperation with Oticon Medical but your daily life and that of your family, patients, and staff. Please stay safe and know that our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.
President, Oticon Medical US
Spread the word!
Right after Thanksgiving last year, Oticon Medical formally launched a new community for Ponto wearers and caregivers to Ponto wearers in the United States, Oticon Medical Friends. Our goal was to create a safe, private space for wearers and caregivers to share their experiences with their Ponto bone anchored hearing systems, ask each other for advice and tips, and learn from one another’s experiences with hearing loss and treatment. Additionally, the community provides more direct access to Oticon Medical employees for assistance with questions related to technology, insurance, and best practices as well as the opportunity to share ideas for product and service advancements.
Features designed to empower Ponto users and caregivers
Oticon Medical Friends provides helpful features for new and experienced Ponto wearers and caregivers, including:
- Easily viewable information on your Ponto device(s), including warranty information. This information is stored securely in your Profile, so only you can see it.
- Groups dedicated to different subjects relevant to you. You can easily browse and find the groups that reflect your everyday interests and experiences.
- A resource library with downloadable material to make life even easier with your device. All materials are made exclusively for Oticon Medical Friends members.
- Direct messaging. Talk directly and privately with other Oticon Medical Friends community members as well as Oticon Medical employees.
- A first look at new products and accessories. Find out first what we are working on and offer suggestions for what you’d like us to develop.
- Coming soon: Exclusive offers and contests for members.
Groups and more in Oticon Medical Friends
Within the community are different groups designed for new wearers, experienced Ponto users, and caregivers. We encourage you to join as many as you’d like! The following are your current options:
We also have a growing Library of content to help maximize your experience and enjoyment of life with a Ponto BAHS and an area where we encourage you to make Suggestions, which we will use to continue expanding and developing Oticon Medical Friends. We are just getting started, so the sooner you join, the more influence you can have on making this community the best resource it can be!
How do I join Oticon Medical Friends?
If you are currently using a Ponto or you are a parent or caregiver of a Ponto wearer, Oticon Medical Friends is for you! To join, simply click this link to Oticon Medical Friends, and when directed enter the serial number for your or your loved one’s device. Whether you are a new member of the Oticon Medical extended family or a seasoned advocate, Oticon Medical Friends is the place for you.
Melissa Tumblin, founder of Ear Community and Oticon Medical Ambassador, originally shared this great list of mobile apps for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. We are resharing it with an update that includes apps for Android™ users as well as the original spreadsheet for iPhone® apps.
We thank audiologist Tina Childress, who is also hard of hearing, for compiling the original spreadsheet. Thanks also goes out to Kevin Martin, editor at Joy of Android, for sharing the article on Android apps.
iPhone apps for the hard of hearing
To view the spreadsheet, click below. Here are a few pointers to help you navigate through this available information:
- Start on the “Welcome” tab to understand how the apps are chosen and categorized
- Click through each tab of the spreadsheet to see the list of apps for that category
- To find out more about an app, click on the cell with the app’s hyperlink. You’ll then have the option to “go to link;” click the link
- Clicking the link will take you to the application’s information page on iTunes.com. Here, you can see screenshots of the app, read more about it and even view in iTunes where you can download the application. You can also search for the app in the App Store and download it directly to your phone
Click on the image above or here to see the full spreadsheet.
Android apps for the hearing impaired
In this article from Joy of Android, you will find five useful apps for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These apps are available in the Google Play™ store.
Click here for Ponto apps and accessories from Oticon Medical.
Do you know of a great app? Let us know in the comments section!