Generally, you don’t mind wearing a mask (or sometimes even two) when you go out. Sometimes, though, you have a hard time hearing conversations. Voices are muffled and even distorted when you go to the doctor’s office or store. Sometimes, it’s so bad you can scarcely perceive a single word. They’re also wearing masks, of course. However, the mask might not be the exclusive source of your difficulty. The real problem may lie with your hearing. Or, to put it another way: those muffled voices you hear during the pandemic might be exposing your hearing loss.
Speech is Muffled by a Mask
Most quality masks are manufactured to prevent the spread of airborne particles or water droplets. In the instance of COVID-19, that’s pretty beneficial because the majority of evidence indicates that water droplets as a contributing factor (even though the science regarding the spread is still being conducted, so all findings are in early stages). Curtailing and stopping COVID-19, consequently, has been shown to be really effective by wearing masks.
Unfortunately, those same masks hinder the projection of sound waves. Masks can block the human voice somewhat. It’s not really a big problem for most individuals. But if hearing loss is a problem for you and muffled voices are suddenly all around you, it could be hard for you to hear anything being said.
Your Brain Compensates For Hearing Loss
But your trouble understanding people wearing masks most likely isn’t only because voices are muffled. There’s more to it than that. The thing is, the brain is, to some extent, adept at compensating for fluctuations in sound quality.
Even if you’re unable to hear what’s happening, your brain will put the event 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 can’t hear.
When someone is wearing a mask, many of those linguistic cues are obscured. The position of someone’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 hard time trying to interpret what’s being said without that extra visual information. That means you’re more likely to hear nothing but mumbles. And your brain will get tired even if it is able to piece together what was said.
Under normal conditions, a continuously compensating brain can cause significant mental exhaustion, sometimes resulting in irritability or loss of memory. With masks on, your brain will become even more fatigued (it’s worthwhile to remember masks are essential protection, so keep them on).
These concerns are being brought into focus and hearing loss is being uncovered by the pandemic. It’s not causing the condition in the first place, but it might have otherwise gone unnoticed because hearing loss usually advances relatively slowly. When your hearing initially begins to decline, you may dismiss the symptoms and turn up the volume on the television (you may not even notice this happening).
That’s why it’s essential to visit us on a regular basis. Because of the types of screenings we perform, we can detect problems with your hearing early, frequently before you notice it yourself.
This is especially true for anybody currently having difficulty understanding conversations through a mask. We can help you find solutions to help you get through a masked world. For example, 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 exposes hearing loss, it’s essential to remember you must keep your mask on. Masks save lives and are frequently mandated. The last thing we should do, regardless of how tempting, is remove our mask.
So leave your mask on, schedule an appointment with us, and wear your hearing aids. Sticking with these guidelines will keep you safe and improve your quality of life.