Preventing Ear Pain While Wearing a Face Mask
Wearing face masks and face coverings has become a part of our daily life and this has raised a few dilemmas when it comes to our ears, especially those with hearing problems and those that wear hearing aids.
Here are some of the issues we and others have come across.
A Mask Doesn't Fit My Ears
The ear loop of a face mask won't fit all ears, especially if your ears only have a small gap between the top of the ear and your head where your hair starts to grow.
We have this issue with one of our reusable masks, the face covering is large but the straps are small and only just get over the top of our ears.
Masks Make My Ears Sore
Especially for working environments where you are wearing a mask for a number of hours, the ear straps have a big potential to rub against the top of your ear.
This is increased when you are talking a lot behind your face mask as this could be making your mask move and the straps stretch and tighten, rubbing your ears even more.
Constant rubbing on the ear can cause skin irritation and inflammation. You might even find the skin may become raw, tender and even start to blister.
A Mask Is Causing My Hearing Aid To Fall Off
If you wear a behind the ear hearing aid this will be sharing the same space as a face mask with ear loops. This means when you take your mask off, your hearing aid can come off with it.
Check out our blog on using your hearing aid along side a face mask.
There are a number of solutions to these issues and over time we'll come to find even more, we'll be sure to update the article as and when we learn more ourselve's and see simple ways of reducing these issues whilst wearing masks and being a hearing aid user.
The Material of your Face Mask or Covering
Firstly consider the mask you are wearing, if you are using the mask for use in public places, look to use a cotton face covering, especially a mask with natural fibres will be kinder against your skin.
Here are a few soft natural fibers that may be more comfortable to wear.
Single use sugrical masks also come with an elastic which can be much more abrasive on your skin than others.
We highly recommend buying a couple of reusable and seeing which fits best. We have a couple each and have found that our partners prefer different sized masks and different materials to us.
An Alternative Anchor Point
Find an alternative anchor point to attach the ear loops too.
Fit The Face Mask Over A Bun
If you have long enough hair to tie up, you can tie your hair up in a high bun and your should be able to wrap both ear loops arond the bun, this isn't the easiest for being able to remove the mask but does make it a snug fit over your face. Alternatively you can tie your hair up into two low buns at a low enough level in line with your ears and wrap the ear bands around them instead.
A Headband With A Button
Use a headband that has a button sewn into it for each ear loop to attach around this.
A Cap or Hat
A hat with a button is also a helpful option too. This way you can put the mask ear straps on to the back of your cap or hat and that should hold it in place and remove the straps from behind your ears.
Adjustable Ear Loops
If the issue is the size of the loop is too small that it won't sit comfortably on your ear without flipping off the top of your ear, it could be worth looking into masks with adjustable ear loops or masks that have different sized face coverings as these will have different sized elasticated straps.
Or you can use the adjustable ear loop attachments which you can fit on to any face mask to make the ear loops smaller or larger.
Keeping Your Ears Clean
Make sure that your hands are clean before putting your mask on as putting the ear loops over your ears requires you to use your hands to guide them onto your ears, this will not only help prevent the spread of the coronavirus but help to keep your ears clean.
Make sure you are including the back of your ears in your daily wash routine, this will help to prevent debris, grease accumulating around the ear straps as well as whipping away sweat and moisture.
if you don't this will rub and irritate as you wear your mask, and cleaning your ears will prevent this issue arissing.
Face Mask with Over the Head Loop
An alternative way for a strap to secure on your face is for both the top loop of the mask and the lower loop of the mask to go over your head and hold tightly agaisnt your head, similar to that of a scuba diving mask. This type of mask is harder to get hold of and can have a much tighter fit on your head.
Face Mask with Tie Backs
If it seems that any mask with a ear loop is making it sore on your ears, look at trying a face mask that comes with fabric ties instead.
This involves you needing to tie two bows behind your head and you'll need to tie them fairly tight not to come undone. We highly recommend Ian Knot which is simple to follow and makes for a great knot to tie your mask to the back of your head https://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/ianknot.htm
Now these are not as easy to pop on and off as those that go behind your ears, but for longer periods of time this will be a much more comfortable solution.