Life During the Pandemic: An Interview with Oticon Medical Advocate Lori Novara
Audiology Online: People with hearing loss, including those like you who wear bone anchored hearing devices, are dealing with extra challenges during Covid-19 than people without hearing challenges. Tell us about your experiences with lockdown so far.
Lori Novara: Dealing with the lockdown and having hearing impairment has made life a bit more challenging. I usually would rather meet up with people in person. Instead, we are resorting to online meetings and phone calls. I do fine with online meetings if I can stream directly to my Pontos. But if we are doing a group meeting and I have to rely strictly on the volume, it makes it very hard for me to hear, as the volume on the computer is not loud enough if there is background noise.
Audiology Online: Have your Ponto devices helped you stay connected to the outside world during this time, and if so, how?
Lori Novara:. Yes, I basically always stream directly to my Pontos from my phone. I love being able to hear without the struggle. Before my Ponto 4s I really struggled on the phone.
Audiology Online: What devices do you find yourself connecting to with your Ponto devices regularly (e.g., phone, TV, laptop…?)
Lori Novara: I connect every day to my phone and my TV adapter. I will also connect to my iPad.
Audiology Online: Are there any Ponto accessories you’re using to help you connect better (e.g., TV streamer, ON app)?
Lori Novara: I use the TV adapter and the ON App.
Audiology Online: Do you use Zoom and/or similar online meeting options? If so, have you found it helpful, challenging, or both?
Lori Novara: Yes, I have used Zoom weekly. I was even able to have a Zoom meeting with a Ponto candidate as an Oticon Medical ambassador.
Audiology Online: How are you dealing with masking? Can you comfortably wear a mask with your hearing devices and are you able to understand others who are wearing masks?
Lori Novara: I am able to wear the mask without any difficulties. Does not bother my Pontos in any way. My struggle is being able to understand others when talking. Everything seems muffled and masked. I really struggle.
Audiology Online: What tips would you like to offer your hard of hearing and hearing aid-wearing peers for getting through the rest of this pandemic?
Lori Novara: I would advise to try to be patient with others if you’re struggling. Ask them to speak up, and do not be afraid to let them know that you are hearing impaired. Do some hobbies to keep yourself busy during the lockdown and be sure to stay in touch with friends and family. It will make the time go by so much faster.