Hard-of-hearing people have extra challenges with the tightening of mask-wearing restrictions under the red light traffic setting against Covid-19.
Monique Leith, who is the co-chair of the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce, has high-frequency hearing loss so can hear only some low-frequency sounds with hearing aids.
It’s a hereditary hearing loss that was picked up when she was very young and has progressively deteriorated.
For Monique and countless others, the mask-wearing has been another obstacle, albeit one they’re happy to navigate, to combat the pandemic.
With masks on, Monique can only see eyes peering back at her.
“I have no idea if they’re talking to me or what they’re saying.
“It creates a really high-anxiety situation when you’re not sure whether a stranger is interacting with you and so how to act or respond.”
The challenges have increased with the red light setting, especially from a retail and hospitality perspective.
“Previously people were generally comfortable removing their mask for a moment to communicate but now there is heightened hesitancy or refusal.
“Usually when I tell staff I lip-read and can’t hear them, they will just continue to talk back through […]