Facemask advice if you wear glasses or hearing aids

Date published: 04 August 2020

Facemasks are now as important as our keys and wallet when we’re leaving the house.

Face coverings are required to be worn by law, except in certain settings and if you are exempt. But for some, such as those with hearing aids or glasses, they can create unexpected challenges. 


Since lockdown measures have started to ease, Specsavers has seen an increase in online searches on how to tackle the problem of glasses steaming up and slipping.

The optician chain, which has branches in Rochdale and Middleton, has provided its top tips for glasses and facemasks:

  • Stop slipping by wrapping the string of the facemask around the sides of your glasses, rather than your ears – just make sure you’re careful when taking off your glasses as your mask will be attached.
  • If you can (and it’s comfortable), pull your mask further up your nose and place glasses on top. This will help seal the mask around your nose, stopping the warm air from your breath escaping and steaming up your lenses
  • Try using a piece of surgical tape to hold your mask in place on the bridge of your nose and give your glasses additional grip

Hearing aids

The Northern Care Alliance’s audiology department has issued several tips for hearing aid wearers.

Care needs to be taken when placing on, removing and/or adjusting your face mask while wearing hearing aids. There has been an increase in lost aids due to face masks because the elastic loops of the face mask are located behind the ear where the hearing aids also sit.

  • Tie long hair back with a hair bobble
  • Instead of looping the elastic ties around the ears, opt for button extensions for your mask
  • Try to get a mask which ties behind the head rather than elastic ties behind the ear
  • Check your hearing aid is still in place when both putting your mask on and removing it
  • Remove your mask in an open area, so if your hearing aids fall, they will be easier to find


You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • young children under the age of 11 (Public Health England do not recommended face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
  • to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  • to eat or drink if reasonably necessary
  • in order to take medication
  • if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering

There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:

  • if asked to do so in a bank, building society, or post office for identification
  • if asked to do so by shop staff or relevant employees for identification, the purpose of assessing health recommendations, such as a pharmacist, or for age identification purposes including when buying age restricted products such as alcohol
  • if speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication

James Taylor, executive director of strategy, impact and social change at disability equality charity Scope, said: “It’s good that action is being taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but making face coverings compulsory could create new difficulties for many disabled people.

“In recent weeks, we’ve heard from disabled people who’ve been challenged over not wearing a face covering while using public transport, causing much distress and anxiety.

“The government must make it really clear to everyone that disabled people who cannot safely wear face coverings are exempt.

“Face coverings also make communicating difficult or impossible for people who rely on lip-reading, so businesses and services need to recognise this, and have other ways of communicating in place so they are not excluding anyone.

“Disabled people and their needs have been routinely forgotten throughout this crisis. If disabled people’s needs are ignored, society risks turning the clock back on equality."

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