Face Mask Alternatives for People without Ears

For many of us, the most challenging part of the CDC’s latest recommendation that everyone should wear a face mask* when going out during the Covid-19 epidemic is finding (or making) masks. However, for people with microtia or anotia, this is compounded by the difficulty of wearing a traditional mask with small or no external ear(s). Fortunately, there are ways around the challenge presented by traditional masks with loops for around the ears.

Making your own face masks for Covid-19 use

As mentioned above, one of the biggest challenges for everyone is figuring out how to follow the latest guidelines on covering your mouth and nose when having to go out for groceries or other necessities during the coronavirus outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have posted helpful DIY guidelines for making and using cloth face coverings on their website. These can be further adapted to fit people without ears using the suggestions below.

Add strings to face masks

If you are making your own face mask, instead of using traditional ear loops you can attach tie-able strings at the top and on the bottom corners. These can be comfortably tied around the head to fit without requiring ears or getting in the way of your bone anchored hearing device.

Attach buttons to a headband

If you happen to have a traditional medical mask — especially if you’re a healthcare worker — then altering a scarf, bandanna, or other adaptable headband to add buttons on either side of your head is a good workaround. You can then put the loops around the buttons in place of ears.





Use a paperclip

This is a clever and simple trick: take a paperclip, slide it around each ear loop on the mask to connect them in back, then put the mask on over your head and adjust comfortably.





Do you have any other DIY suggestions for making face masks wearable without ears? Please share in the comments!

We’d like to thank our friend Melissa Tumblin and Ear Community for allowing us to share these helpful tips and photo examples.

*Masks featured in this post are not N95-rated or surgical grade.

8 thoughts on “Face Mask Alternatives for People without Ears

  1. Melissa Tumblin

    Thank you for sharing so everyone can learn about great ideas on how to be safe when out and about during these pandemic times. These masks are also great for anyone wearing traditional hearing aids or cochlear implants so they can keep their aids on behind their ears and not have the mask loops get in the way of behind the ear room. Thanks again!

  2. TheBahaMama

    I have seen so many fun ideas on-line! My favorite is using the Monkeys from the Barrel of Monkeys game. Or a more practical idea, for kids who wear their Ponto on a softband, is adding Buttons as “Ear Savers” to the softband they are already wearing.

  3. Marcia

    I use a carabiner and it works great! Easy to put on and take off. Even my friends with ears thought it was a great idea as the straps irritate their ears.

  4. Tom Simmons

    I’m missing my right ear because of skin cancer (it was removed in 2018). I’m trying to find a mask that will cover the ears or in my case one ear and the missing one.

    1. Hildy Silverman Post author

      Hello, Tom. To clarify, do you mean completely cover your one ear and where the other ear would be? If so, you might want to look into pull-down or pull-up head coverings like a balaclava or a gaiter. However, there is some debate as to how effective these are with regards to the coronavirus, so you should do some research into their efficacy.


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