So, what can we do? First, as noted in the University of Illinois study mentioned above, hearing aids can help! If you already own hearing aids, use them. Make sure they are in good working condition and have been recently optimized for possible changing hearing levels. If you suspect hearing loss but do not already use hearing aids, make an appointment soon with a licensed audiologist. Be proactive about your hearing health as we now know from multiple studies there is a correlation with untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline; hearing loss is the #1 modifiable risk factor for preventing dementia (through the use of hearing aids).
Additionally, consider asking friends, coworkers and loved ones to use a clear mask to allow for visual cues to be seen. In cases of moderate to severe and profound hearing loss, I have been told the clear masks make a world of difference when it comes to ease of communication.
And finally, as always, use context whenever possible. Know the topic of conversation and ask questions if needed. Let your brain fill in gaps when your ears and eyes don't do the trick. I always say "if someone is knocking at the *blank*---, how would you fill in the blank?" We didn't have to hear the word "door" to know that is likely what was said. That is using context.
For information where to obtain clear masks in the Massachusetts area, please contact me at email@example.com and I'll be happy to forward a document with information on multiple options.