Generally, you don’t mind wearing a mask (or sometimes even two) when you leave your house. Sometimes, though, you have a hard time hearing conversations. When you go to the grocery store or visit your doctor’s office, the voices of cashiers and receptionists are muffled, even distorted. At times, it’s so bad you can scarcely understand a single word. They’re also wearing masks, obviously. Our face coverings aren’t really at fault, though. The real problem may be your hearing. Or, to put it another way: those muffled voices you hear during the pandemic could be uncovering your hearing impairment.
Masks Muffle The Human Voice
Most quality masks are designed to prevent 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 pretty useful (even though the science regarding the spread is still being carried out, so all findings are in early stages). Curtailing and preventing COVID-19, as a result, has been shown to be really practical by wearing masks.
But masks clearly can block the movement of sound waves. Masks can block the human voice somewhat. For the majority of people, it’s not a big deal. But if hearing loss is a problem for you and muffled voices are suddenly all around you, it may be hard for you to hear anything being said.
Your Brain Compensates For Hearing Loss
The impediment of sound waves probably isn’t the sole reason you’re having difficulty 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 can’t hear what’s happening, your brain will put the event into context and use that information to interpret what’s being said. Your brain will synthesize physical clues like facial expressions, body language, and especially lip movements to compensate for what it can’t hear.
When someone is wearing a mask, many of those linguistic cues are hidden. The position of somebody’s mouth and the motion of their lips is unseen. You can’t even tell if it’s a smile or a frown behind the mask.
Your brain has a very difficult time trying to translate 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 fatigue of a brain trying to continuously compensate, under typical circumstances, can result in loss of memory and irritability. Your brain will become even more fatigued when everybody is wearing a mask (but leave it on because it’s important for community protection).
The pandemic is exposing hearing loss by bringing these concerns into focus. It Isn’t causing the condition in the first place, but it may have otherwise gone undetected because hearing loss usually advances rather slowly. In the early phases of hearing loss we normally don’t even detect it and often start raising the volume on our devices (you may not even detect this taking place).
That’s why it’s essential to visit us regularly. Because of the variety of screenings we carry out, we can diagnose issues with your hearing early, often before you notice it yourself.
This is especially true for anybody presently having difficulty comprehending conversations through a mask. Together we can determine strategies to make you more comfortable talking with people who are wearing a mask. For instance, hearing aids can help you regain a lot of your functional hearing range and can supply other significant benefits. Voices behind the mask will be easier to hear and comprehend with hearing aids.
Keep Your Mask on
It’s important to remember to wear your mask even as the pandemic reveals hearing loss. Masks are frequently mandated or required because they save lives. One of the issues with muffled voices is that individuals might 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 use your hearing aids. These initiatives will inevitably enhance your quality of life, and help keep you safe, as well.