Typically, you don’t mind wearing a mask (or sometimes even two) when you leave your house. The only trouble is, sometimes it’s difficult to hear what other people are saying. When you go to the grocery store or doctor’s appointment, the voices of cashiers and receptionists are muffled, even distorted. Sometimes, it’s so bad you can hardly perceive a single word. Of course, they’re wearing masks, as well. Our face coverings aren’t really at fault, though. It may be your hearing that’s the issue. Or, to say it differently: those muffled voices you hear during the pandemic might be revealing your hearing impairment.
Masks Muffle Speech
Most quality masks are made to prevent the spread of airborne particles or water droplets. The majority of evidence indicates airborne water droplets as a contributing factor in the instance of COVID-19 so that’s pretty useful (even though the science regarding the spread is still being conducted, so all findings are in early stages). As a result, masks have shown to be quite effective at limiting and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
But masks obviously can block the movement of sound waves. The human voice will be somewhat muffled by a mask. For the majority of people, it’s not a problem. But if hearing loss is a problem for you and muffled voices suddenly surround you, it might be difficult for you to comprehend anything being said.
Your Brain Compensates For Hearing Impairment
The impediment of sound waves probably isn’t the sole reason you’re having difficulty comprehending someone wearing a mask. It’s more involved than that. You see, the brain is extremely good at compensating for fluctuations in your hearing, up to a point.
Without you recognizing it, your brain utilizes contextual information to help you understand what’s being said, even if you can’t hear it. Body language, facial expressions, even lip movements are all synthesized by your brain automatically to help you compensate for what you can’t hear.
When somebody is wearing a mask, many of those linguistic cues are concealed. You can’t see the shape of someone’s lips or the position of the mouth. You don’t even know if they are smiling or frowning.
Without that additional input, it’s harder for your brain to compensate for the audio clues you aren’t getting automatically. 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 continuously compensate, under normal circumstances, can cause memory loss and irritability. With masks on, your brain will become even more fatigued (it’s important to remember masks are essential protection, so keep them on).
The pandemic is uncovering hearing loss by bringing these issues into focus. Hearing loss normally advances gradually over time and might not have been noticed in different circumstances. When your hearing initially begins to decline, you might ignore the symptoms and turn up the volume on the television (you may not even recognize this taking place).
That’s why it’s worthwhile to visit us regularly. We can detect early hearing loss, often before you even notice it, because of the screenings we carry out.
This is particularly true for people presently having trouble comprehending conversations through a mask. We can help you find methods to help you navigate a masked world. For example, hearing aids can help you get back a lot of your functional hearing range and can supply other significant benefits. Hearing aids will make it much easier to hear, and understand the voices behind the masks.
Keep Your Mask on
It’s important 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, no matter how tempting, is take off our mask.
So keep your mask on, make an appointment with us, and wear your hearing aids. Following these guidelines will keep you safe and enhance your quality of life.