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. When you go to the grocery store or visit your doctor’s office, the voices of cashiers and receptionists are muffled, even distorted. Sometimes, you can’t understand anything that’s being said. They’re also wearing masks, obviously. Our face coverings aren’t totally at fault, though. The real issue may be your hearing. Or, to say it another way: those muffled voices you’re hearing during the pandemic could be revealing your hearing loss.
Masks Muffle Speech
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 (even though the science regarding the spread is still being carried out, so all findings are preliminary). Curtailing and preventing COVID-19, consequently, has been proven really effective by wearing masks.
But masks clearly can stop the movement of sound waves. The human voice will be somewhat muffled by a mask. For the majority of individuals, it’s not a problem. But if hearing loss is an issue for you and muffled voices are suddenly all around you, it may be difficult for you to understand anything being said.
Hearing Loss Makes Your Brain Work Harder
The impediment of sound waves likely isn’t the only reason you’re having difficulty comprehending someone wearing a mask. There’s more going on than that. The thing is, the brain is, to some degree, skilled at compensating for variations in sound quality.
Without you recognizing it, your brain utilizes contextual information to help you understand what’s being said, even if you can’t hear it. Body language, facial expressions, even lip movements are all synthesized by your brain naturally to help you compensate for what you’re unable to hear.
When someone is wearing a mask, many of those visual cues are hidden. The position of somebody’s mouth and the motion of their lips is unseen. You don’t even know if they are smiling or frowning.
Your brain has a really difficult 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.
The exhaustion of a brain trying to continuously compensate, under normal circumstances, can result in loss of memory and impatience. Your brain will become even more fatigued when everybody is wearing a mask (but keep it on because it’s important for community protection).
These issues are being brought into focus and hearing loss is being exposed by the pandemic. Hearing loss usually advances slowly over time and might not have been noticed in different circumstances. When your hearing first starts to diminish, you might disregard the symptoms and turn up the volume on the television (you might not even detect this occurring).
That’s why it’s essential to visit us regularly. Because of the kinds of screenings we do, we can detect problems with your hearing early, frequently before you notice it yourself.
This is particularly true for individuals currently having trouble understanding conversations through a mask. We can help you discover strategies to help you get through a masked world. Hearing aids, for instance, can produce significant benefits, allowing you to regain a lot of your functional hearing range. Voices behind the mask will be easier to hear and understand with hearing aids.
Keep Your Mask on
As the pandemic exposes hearing loss, it’s crucial to remember you will need to keep your mask on. Masks save lives and are often mandated. One of the issues with muffled voices is that people might be tempted to remove their masks, and that’s the last thing we should do.
So keep your mask on, make an appointment with us, and use your hearing aids. Sticking with these suggestions will keep you safe and enhance your quality of life.