You wear your mask when you go out, sometimes two of them, and you typically don’t mind. The only trouble is, sometimes it’s difficult to hear what other people are saying. Voices are muffled and even distorted when you go to the store or doctor’s office. At times, it’s so bad you can barely grasp a single word. Naturally, they’re wearing masks, as well. However, the mask might not be the exclusive source of your trouble. It may be your hearing that’s the problem. Or, to put it another way: those muffled voices you hear during the pandemic could be exposing your hearing loss.
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 indicates airborne water droplets as a contributing factor in the instance of COVID-19 so that’s very useful (all these findings, though, are still preliminary and research is still being done). Curtailing and preventing COVID-19, as a result, has been shown to be really practical by wearing masks.
But masks obviously can block the movement of sound waves. Masks can slightly muffle the human voice. It’s not really a big concern for most individuals. But if you suffer from hearing loss and muffled voices suddenly surround you, it might be difficult for you to make out anything being said.
Your Brain Compensates For Hearing Loss
But your trouble understanding people wearing masks probably isn’t only because voices are muffled. 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 your awareness, your brain utilizes contextual information to help you comprehend what’s being said, even if you can’t hear it. 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 clues are concealed when someone is wearing a mask. The position of somebody’s mouth and the movements of their lips is hidden. You don’t even know if they are smiling or frowning.
Without that additional information, it’s more difficult for your brain to make up 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.
Under regular conditions, a continuously compensating brain can cause significant mental fatigue, often resulting in impatience or loss of memory. Your brain will become even more tired when everybody is wearing a mask (but keep it on because it’s essential for community protection).
The pandemic is revealing hearing loss by bringing these concerns into focus. Hearing loss typically advances slowly over time and might not have been recognized in other circumstances. In the early stages of hearing loss we typically don’t even detect it and often start raising the volume on our devices (you may not even notice you’re doing it).
That’s why it’s essential to visit us on a regular basis. Because of the kinds of screenings we perform, we can detect problems with your hearing early, often before you notice it yourself.
This is particularly true for anyone presently having difficulty comprehending conversations through a mask. Together we can determine strategies to make you more comfortable conversing with people who are wearing a mask. For instance, hearing aids can help you recover a lot of your functional hearing range and can supply other significant benefits. Voices behind the mask will be easier to hear and understand with hearing aids.
Keep Your Mask on
As the pandemic reveals hearing loss, it’s essential to remember you must keep your mask on. Masks are frequently mandated or required because they save lives. The last thing we should do, regardless of how tempting, is remove our mask.
So keep your mask on, schedule an appointment with us, and wear your hearing aids. Sticking with these suggestions will keep you safe and enhance your quality of life.