Generally, you don’t mind wearing a mask (or sometimes even two) when you go out. The only trouble is, sometimes it’s difficult to hear what other people are saying. Voices are muffled and even distorted when you go to the store or doctor’s office. Sometimes, it’s so bad you can hardly understand a single word. Of course, they’re wearing masks, too. Our face coverings aren’t totally at fault, though. It might be your hearing that’s the problem. Or, to put it another way: those muffled voices you’re hearing during the pandemic could be exposing your hearing loss.
Speech is Muffled by a Mask
Most good masks are designed to prevent the spread of airborne particles or water droplets. In the instance of COVID-19, that’s pretty useful because most evidence indicates that water droplets as a prominent factor (all these results, though, are still in early stages and research is still being done). As a result, masks have proven very effective at curtailing and stopping the spread of COVID-19.
But masks obviously can stop the projection of sound waves. The human voice will be a bit muffled by a mask. For the majority of individuals, it’s not a problem. But if you suffer from hearing loss and muffled voices are suddenly all around you, it may be difficult for you to hear anything being said.
Your Brain Compensates For Hearing Impairment
The impediment of sound waves likely isn’t the sole reason you’re having trouble understanding someone wearing a mask. It’s more involved than that. You see, the brain is very good at compensating for fluctuations in your hearing, up to a point.
Without your awareness, your brain uses contextual information to help you understand what’s being said, even if you can’t hear it. Your brain will synthesize physical clues like facial expressions, body language, and particularly lip movements to compensate for what it can’t hear.
Many of these visual clues are hidden when somebody is wearing a mask. The position of somebody’s mouth and the motion of their lips is unseen. You can’t even see if it’s a frown or smile behind the mask.
Your brain has a really difficult time attempting to translate what’s being said without that extra visual information. So mumbling is probably all you will hear. And your brain will get tired even if it is able to piece together what was said.
The exhaustion of a brain trying to continually compensate, under typical circumstances, can cause memory loss and impatience. Your brain will become even more fatigued when everybody is wearing a mask (but leave it on because it’s essential for community protection).
These concerns are being brought to your attention and hearing loss is being uncovered by the pandemic. Hearing loss normally advances gradually over time and might not have been recognized in different circumstances. When your hearing first starts to decline, you may ignore the symptoms and turn up the volume on the television (maybe you don’t even notice you’re doing it).
That’s why it’s worthwhile to visit us regularly. Because of the types of screenings we carry out, we can detect issues with your hearing early, often before you notice it yourself.
This is particularly true for individuals currently having trouble comprehending conversations through a mask. Together we can find ways to make you more comfortable talking with people who are wearing a mask. Hearing aids, for instance, can produce considerable benefits, allowing you to regain much of your functional hearing range. Voices behind the mask will be easier to hear and comprehend with hearing aids.
Keep Your Mask on
As the pandemic reveals hearing loss, it’s essential to remember you will need to keep your mask on. Masks are often mandated or required because they save lives. The last thing we should do, regardless of how tempting, is take off our mask.
So make an appointment with us, wear your hearing aid, and keep your mask on. These initiatives will ultimately enhance your quality of life, and help keep you safe, as well.