Generally, you don’t mind wearing a mask (or sometimes even two) when you go out. 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 doctor’s office or store. Sometimes, it’s so bad you can hardly understand a single word. They’re also wearing masks, obviously. However, the mask might not be the only source of your trouble. The real problem could be your hearing. Or, to put it another way: those muffled voices you hear during the pandemic could be exposing your hearing impairment.
Masks Muffle The Human Voice
Most good masks are manufactured to stop the spread of airborne particles or water droplets. In the case of COVID-19, that’s pretty beneficial because most evidence points toward water droplets as a prominent factor (all these results, however, are still preliminary and studies are still being conducted). Limiting and preventing COVID-19, consequently, has been shown to be very effective by wearing masks.
But masks clearly can stop the movement of sound waves. Masks can slightly muffle the human voice. For most people, it’s not a big deal. 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
But your difficulty understanding people wearing masks most likely isn’t only because voices are muffled. It’s more involved than that. The thing is, the brain is, to some extent, skilled at compensating for fluctuations in sound quality.
Without you recognizing it, your brain uses contextual information to help you comprehend what’s being said, even if you can’t hear it. Facial expressions, body language, even lip movements are all synthesized by your brain automatically to help you compensate for what you’re unable to hear.
Many of these visual indicators are concealed when someone is wearing a mask. The position of somebody’s mouth and the movements of their lips is hidden. You can’t even see if it’s a smile or a frown behind the mask.
Without that added information, it’s harder for your brain to compensate for the audio information you aren’t receiving automatically. So mumbling is probably all you will hear. Even if your brain can, somehow, make sense of what was said, your brain will get tired.
Under normal circumstances, a continually compensating brain can cause considerable mental exhaustion, often resulting in impatience or memory loss. Your brain will become even more tired when everybody is wearing a mask (but leave it on because it’s essential for community protection).
The pandemic is exposing hearing loss by bringing these issues to your attention. It Isn’t causing the condition in the first place, but it might have otherwise gone unnoticed because hearing loss commonly advances quite slowly. When your hearing first starts to decline, you may ignore the symptoms and raise 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 understanding 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. Hearing aids, for instance, can produce considerable benefits, allowing you to recover much of your functional hearing range. Hearing aids will make it a great deal easier to hear, and comprehend the voices behind the masks.
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 often mandated or required because they save lives. The last thing we should do, regardless of how tempting, is remove our mask.
So schedule an appointment with us, wear your hearing aid, and leave your mask on. These efforts will inevitably improve your quality of life, and help keep you safe, as well.