Generally, you don’t mind wearing a mask (or sometimes even two) when you go out. Occasionally, however, you have a tough time hearing interactions. Voices are muffled and even distorted when you go to the store or doctor’s office. Sometimes, you can’t make out anything that’s being said. Obviously, they’re wearing masks, as well. However, the mask may not be the exclusive source of your difficulty. The real problem could lie with your hearing. Or, to say it another way: those muffled voices you’re hearing during the pandemic could be revealing your hearing impairment.
Speech is Muffled by a Mask
Most good masks are manufactured to prevent the spread of airborne particles or water droplets. In the instance of COVID-19, that’s rather useful because the majority of evidence points toward water droplets as a contributing factor (all these findings, however, are still in early stages and studies are still being conducted). Curtailing and preventing COVID-19, consequently, has been proven very effective by wearing masks.
But masks obviously can block the projection of sound waves. Masks can slightly muffle the human voice. It’s not really much of a concern for most individuals. But if you suffer from hearing loss and muffled voices suddenly surround you, it may be hard for you to hear anything being said.
Your Brain Compensates For Hearing Loss
But your trouble understanding people wearing masks most likely isn’t simply because voices are muffled. It’s more involved than that. The thing is, the brain is, to some degree, skilled at compensating for variations in sound quality.
Even if you can’t hear what’s happening, your brain will put the event into context and use that information to interpret what’s being said. 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 hints are concealed when someone is wearing a mask. The position of somebody’s mouth and the movements of their lips is unseen. You don’t even know if they are frowning or smiling.
Your brain has a very difficult time trying to translate what’s being said without that added 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 fatigue of a brain trying to continually compensate, under normal circumstances, can cause loss of memory and impatience. Your brain will become even more tired when everyone is wearing a mask (but keep it on because it’s important for community protection).
These concerns are being brought into focus and hearing loss is being revealed by the pandemic. It’s not causing the condition in the first place, but it might have otherwise gone undetected because hearing loss typically advances relatively slowly. In the early stages of hearing loss we normally don’t even detect it and frequently start turning up the volume on our devices (you may not even know you’re doing it).
That’s why it’s essential to visit us regularly. Because of the types of screenings we do, we can identify problems with your hearing early, often before you notice it yourself.
This is especially true for individuals presently having difficulty comprehending conversations through a mask. We can help you discover solutions to help you navigate a masked world. Hearing aids, for instance, can produce substantial benefits, allowing you to recover a lot 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 exposes hearing loss, it’s crucial to remember you will need to keep your mask on. Masks are frequently mandated or required because they save lives. One of the issues with muffled voices is that individuals might be tempted to take off their masks, and that’s the last thing we should be doing.
So schedule an appointment with us, wear your hearing aid, and leave your mask on. These initiatives will inevitably enhance your quality of life, and help keep you safe, as well.