As someone who has worn hearing aids for many years, I appreciated Sara Nović’s July 18 op-ed about the communication challenges that deaf and hard-of-hearing people experience when trying to understand masked speakers [“Masks help fight the coronavirus but pose a hurdle for deaf people”].

It is important to point out, however, that there is a difference between the ways hearing people with masks can better communicate with the deaf (through the examples that the writer mentioned, for example, employing pen and paper, learning the American Sign Language manual alphabet) as opposed to the ways they can communicate with people who are hard of hearing:  Essentially, while speaking with a mask, look directly at the person, speak louder (without yelling) and, most important, enunciate. This is crucial as about 30 percent of hard-of-hearing people’s understanding comes through lip reading — a technique that we can no longer count on with the mask barrier. Given that an estimated 15 percent of the American population are hard of hearing, there is a high likelihood of hearing people needing to employ these simple measures to ease communication.

Christy Gavitt, Fairfax