Our new norm is trending
April 9, 2020
In the past several months our country; our world has been attacked by a silent, sneaky killer...Novel Coronavirus...COVID 19. It has caused our economy to break down and at the same time drive families closer together...yet divide others.
This virus has caused a major disruption to the normal way we live our lives. Social isolation is the new norm. Well...it should be; but, not everyone adheres to the guidelines.
Simple guidelines; limit travel, limit contact with others outside of your home, no close proximity...”stay at least 6 feet away.” Have good hygiene...crazy good hygiene! Wash your hands after touching anything that may have been touched by someone other than yourself.
These behaviors make you realize how quickly we need the human touch. We are used to being 2-3 feet from someone when having a conversation with them. Six feet is a long distance when having a conversation with a patient with a hearing loss. Six feet is a long way even if the person is wearing corrective hearing instruments. People are expressive. People like to touch. Compassion for others is often conveyed with touch. The touch of a hand or pat on the shoulder. A hug. A hand shake. All of these emotional feelings just came to a screeching halt!
People with hearing loss rely on facial expressions to help them interpret speech. When someone is six feet away, not only does it make it more difficult to get accurate signals but the incoming volume is also lessened. This makes it more difficult for people to understand. Sometimes, people with hearing loss will only wear their hearing instruments if they are out into groups because they feel like they don’t need to wear them unless they are around people. Unfortunately, this causes the hearing impaired person’s brain to not get adequate auditory stimulation. Patients should always wear their hearing instruments a minimum of 12 hours per day, even if not with other people, to give their the best chance of avoiding cognitive decline.
This COVID 19 nightmare is hard on everyone. From the little ones who don’t get to go to school, or walk at their high school graduation. That is especially sad. Graduation is the closing of 18 years and the start of the next chapter of life. High school graduation is worked for; year after year...just sad.. not like something these grads can do over. It’s hard on single people and also hard on some married people...(lol). It’s hard on workers..non-essential and essential. There are people who are afraid to go to work and then there are those that should be afraid. Medical people are of course essential. Then there are the businesses like the grocery stores that are essential but their employees are put at risk. This is the case of some people being afraid to go to work. A hearing impaired person checking out at the grocery store definitely needs to be within 6 feet to hear the clerk correctly. Such a difficult situation.
Technology available today helps medical care continue. Many physician groups have started using teleheatlh. Our hearing center also utilizes telehealth and our hearing instruments have the ability to be programmed remotely. FaceTime ™ and Zoom, and Skype also helps families and business to stay in touch. This is so important as people are meant to be around people. Seniors, especially those who no longer have a spouse or a loved one living with them are especially vulnerable to separation anxiety. Lack of conversation, and that so needed human touch can lead to depression. This need also causes people to just “get out and go to the store or something.” This scenario increases the risk of becoming a COVID 19 statistic as well has helping to spread the virus.
This health crisis that we are in is going to continue for quite some time. Protocol’s in all business offices are bound to change to the new norm. Hopefully, our new norm of NO TOUCH...and Social Isolation will fade into a distant memory. Use technology available to reach out to your friends and family. If you know someone who lives by themselves remember to reach out to them too. A phone call can really lift someone’s spirits.
Be Safe and Keep... WASHING those Hands! To Hear Better To Live Better!