You wear your mask when you leave your house, sometimes two of them, and you generally don’t mind. At times, though, you have a hard time hearing conversations. 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. They’re also wearing masks, of course. However, the mask may not be the exclusive source of your difficulty. It may be your hearing that’s the problem. Or, to put it another way: those muffled voices you’re hearing during the pandemic may be uncovering your hearing loss.
Speech is Muffled by a Mask
Most quality masks are designed to stop 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 contributing factor (although the science regarding the spread is still being carried out, so all findings are in early stages). Limiting and stopping COVID-19, as a result, has been shown to be really practical by wearing masks.
But masks clearly can block the projection of sound waves. Masks can block the human voice somewhat. For most individuals, it’s not a problem. But if you have hearing loss and muffled voices suddenly surround you, it could be hard for you to understand anything being said.
Your Brain Compensates For Hearing Impairment
The impediment of sound waves likely isn’t the only reason you’re having trouble understanding someone wearing a mask. There’s more going on than that. You see, the brain is extremely good at compensating for fluctuations in your hearing, up to a point.
Even if you’re unable to hear what’s happening, your brain will put the situation into context and use that information to interpret what’s being said. Body language, facial expressions, even lip movements are all synthesized by your brain automatically to help you compensate for what you’re unable to hear.
When somebody is wearing a mask, many of those visual cues are obscured. The position of somebody’s mouth and the motion of their lips is unseen. You can’t even tell if it’s a frown or smile behind the mask.
Your brain has a really hard time attempting to interpret 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.
Under regular conditions, a continuously compensating brain can cause significant mental exhaustion, sometimes resulting in impatience or loss of memory. With masks in place, your brain will become even more fatigued (it’s worthwhile to remember masks are essential protection, so keep them on).
The pandemic is revealing hearing loss by bringing these concerns to your attention. Hearing loss typically advances slowly over time and might not have been detected in different circumstances. When your hearing first starts to diminish, you might disregard the symptoms and turn up the volume on the television (you may not even detect this occurring).
This is the reason why coming in to see us on a regular basis is so essential. Because of the kinds of screenings we carry out, we can identify problems with your hearing early, frequently before you observe it yourself.
If you are having a hard time hearing what people are saying when they’re wearing a mask, this is particularly true. We can help you discover methods to help you get through a masked world. For example, hearing aids can help you regain a lot of your functional hearing range and can supply other significant benefits. Hearing aids will make it a lot easier to hear, and comprehend 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 are often mandated or required because they save lives. One of the issues with muffled voices is that individuals may be tempted to remove their masks, and that’s the last thing we should do.
So keep your mask on, schedule an appointment with us, and wear your hearing aids. Following these guidelines will keep you safe and improve your quality of life.