Generally, you don’t mind wearing a mask (or sometimes even two) when you go out. The only trouble is, sometimes it’s tough to hear what other people are saying. When you go to the supermarket or doctor’s appointment, the voices of cashiers and receptionists are muffled, even distorted. Quite often, you can’t make out anything that’s being said. Of course, they’re wearing masks, too. However, the mask may not be the exclusive source of your difficulty. The real problem may be your hearing. Or, to say it differently: those muffled voices you’re hearing during the pandemic could be exposing your hearing impairment.
The Human Voice is Muffled by a Mask
Most quality masks are manufactured to stop the spread of airborne particles or water droplets. The majority of evidence points to airborne water droplets as a contributing factor in the instance of COVID-19 so that’s very useful (all these results, though, are still in early stages and studies are still being carried out). Curtailing and stopping COVID-19, as a result, has been shown to be very effective by wearing masks.
Unfortunately, those same masks hinder the movement of sound waves. The human voice will be a bit muffled by a mask. It’s not really a big concern for most people. But if you have hearing loss and muffled voices suddenly surround you, it could be difficult for you to hear anything being said.
Your Brain Compensates For Hearing Loss
The impediment of sound waves probably isn’t the only reason you’re having trouble comprehending someone wearing a mask. There’s more to it than that. You see, the brain is very good at compensating for changes in your hearing, up to a point.
Even if you’re unable to hear what’s happening, your brain will put the event into context and use that information to interpret what’s being said. Facial expressions, body language, even lip movements are all synthesized by your brain naturally to help you compensate for what you can’t hear.
Many of these visual indicators are hidden when somebody is wearing a mask. You can’t see the shape of somebody’s lips or the alignment of the mouth. You can’t even see if it’s a frown or smile behind the mask.
Your brain has a very difficult time attempting to translate what’s being said without that extra visual information. That means you’re more likely to hear nothing but mumbles. And your brain will get tired even if it is able to piece together what was said.
Under normal circumstances, a continuously compensating brain can cause considerable mental exhaustion, sometimes resulting in impatience or memory loss. With masks on, your brain will become even more fatigued (it’s worthwhile to remember masks are essential protection, so keep them on).
These concerns are being brought into focus and hearing loss is being revealed by the pandemic. It Isn’t causing the condition in the first place, but it may have otherwise gone unnoticed because hearing loss commonly progresses quite slowly. In the early phases of hearing loss we usually don’t even detect it and often start raising the volume on our devices (you may not even detect this occurring).
That’s why it’s worthwhile to visit us on a regular basis. We can detect early hearing loss, often before you even notice it, because of the screenings we carry out.
If you are having a difficult time hearing what people are saying when they’re wearing a mask, this is especially true. Together we can find strategies to make you more comfortable speaking with people wearing a mask. Hearing aids, for instance, can offer substantial benefits, allowing you to regain a lot of your functional hearing range. Hearing aids will make it a lot easier to hear, and understand the voices behind the masks.
Keep Your Mask on
It’s essential to remember to keep your mask on even as the pandemic reveals hearing loss. Masks are frequently 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, use your hearing aid, and keep your mask on. Sticking with these recommendations will keep you safe and improve your quality of life.