You wear your mask when you leave your house, sometimes more than one, and you typically don’t mind. Sometimes, though, you have a tough 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, obviously. However, the mask may not be the exclusive source of your trouble. It might be your hearing that’s the issue. Or, to say it another way: those muffled voices you hear during the pandemic could be uncovering your hearing impairment.
Speech is Muffled by a Mask
Most good masks are made to stop the spread of airborne particles or water droplets. In the instance of COVID-19, that’s rather useful because the majority of evidence indicates that water droplets as a contributing factor (all these results, though, are still preliminary and studies are still being done). Curtailing and stopping COVID-19, as a result, has been proven really effective by wearing masks.
Unfortunately, those same masks impede the movement of sound waves. Masks can slightly muffle the human voice. For the majority of people, it’s not a problem. But if hearing loss is an issue for you and muffled voices are suddenly all around you, it could be hard for you to understand anything being said.
Hearing Loss Makes Your Brain Work Harder
But your trouble 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, adept at compensating for variations in sound quality.
Even if you’re unable to hear what’s going on, 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 hidden. The position of somebody’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 compensate for the audio information you aren’t getting automatically. That means you’re more likely to hear nothing but mumbles. Even if your brain can, somehow, make sense of what was said, your brain will get tired.
Under regular circumstances, a continually compensating brain can cause considerable mental fatigue, often resulting in impatience or loss of memory. With masks in place, your brain will become even more tired (it’s worthwhile to remember masks are essential protection, so keep them on).
These concerns are being brought to your attention and hearing loss is being uncovered by the pandemic. Hearing loss normally develops gradually over time and may not have been detected in other circumstances. When your hearing first starts to diminish, you may disregard the symptoms and raise the volume on the television (you may not even recognize this occurring).
That’s why it’s essential to visit us on a regular basis. We can identify early hearing loss, frequently before you even notice it, because of the screenings we carry out.
This is especially true for people presently having trouble comprehending conversations through a mask. We can help you discover methods to help you navigate a masked world. For instance, 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 great deal 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 will need to keep your mask on. Masks are frequently mandated or required because they save lives. One of the issues with muffled voices is that individuals may be tempted to take off their masks, and that’s the last thing we should be doing.
So leave your mask on, schedule an appointment with us, and wear your hearing aids. These initiatives will ultimately enhance your quality of life, and help keep you safe, as well.