You wear your mask when you leave your house, sometimes more than one, and you generally don’t mind. The only trouble is, sometimes it’s tough 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 barely understand a single word. Obviously, they’re wearing masks, too. Our face coverings aren’t completely at fault, though. It may be your hearing that’s the problem. Or, to put it another way: those muffled voices you hear during the pandemic may be exposing your hearing impairment.
Speech is Muffled by a Mask
Most good masks are manufactured to prevent 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, however, are still in early stages and research is still being conducted). Limiting and stopping COVID-19, as a result, has been proven very practical by wearing masks.
But masks obviously can block the movement of sound waves. The human voice will be a bit muffled by a mask. For the majority of individuals, it’s not a big deal. But if you suffer from hearing loss and muffled voices suddenly surround you, it may be hard for you to comprehend anything being said.
Hearing Loss Makes Your Brain Work Harder
The impediment of sound waves likely isn’t the sole reason you’re having difficulty comprehending someone wearing a mask. It’s more involved than that. The thing is, the brain is, to some degree, adept at compensating for fluctuations in sound quality.
Even if you can’t hear what’s going on, your brain will put the event into context and use that information to interpret what’s being said. Your brain will synthesize things like facial expressions, body language, and especially lip movements to compensate for what it can’t hear.
Many of these visual indicators are hidden when someone is wearing a mask. The position of someone’s mouth and the movements of their lips is hidden. You don’t even know if they are frowning or smiling.
Without that additional information, it’s more difficult for your brain to make up for the audio clues you aren’t receiving automatically. 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.
The fatigue of a brain trying to continually compensate, under normal circumstances, can lead to loss of memory and impatience. With masks on, your brain will become even more fatigued (it’s worthwhile to remember masks are essential protection, so keep them on).
The pandemic is uncovering hearing loss by bringing these concerns to your attention. It’s not causing the condition in the first place, but it might have otherwise gone undetected because hearing loss typically advances relatively slowly. When your hearing initially begins to decline, you may disregard the symptoms and turn up the volume on the television (maybe you don’t even realize you’re doing it).
That’s why it’s important to visit us on a regular basis. Because of the types of screenings we do, we can detect issues with your hearing early, frequently before you notice it yourself.
This is particularly true for anybody presently having trouble comprehending conversations through a mask. Together we can find ways to make you more comfortable conversing with people wearing a mask. For example, hearing aids can help you recover a lot of your functional hearing range and can provide other significant benefits. Hearing aids will make it a lot easier to hear, and understand the voices behind the masks.
Keep Your Mask on
As the pandemic reveals hearing loss, it’s important to remember you must keep your mask on. Masks save lives and are frequently mandated. One of the problems with muffled voices is that individuals may be tempted to remove their masks, and that’s the last thing we should be doing.
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.