Typically, you don’t mind wearing a mask (or sometimes even two) when you leave your house. The only trouble is, sometimes it’s hard to hear what other people are saying. Voices are muffled and even distorted when you go to the store or doctor’s office. At times, it’s so bad you can scarcely grasp a single word. Obviously, they’re wearing masks, as well. Our face coverings aren’t totally at fault, though. The real problem could lie with your hearing. Or, to put it another way: those muffled voices you’re hearing during the pandemic may be revealing your hearing impairment.
The Human Voice is Muffled by a Mask
Most quality masks are made to prevent the spread of airborne particles or water droplets. In the case of COVID-19, that’s rather beneficial because most evidence points toward water droplets as a contributing factor (all these results, though, are still preliminary and research is still being carried out). Limiting and stopping COVID-19, consequently, has been proven very practical by wearing masks.
Unfortunately, those same masks hinder the movement of sound waves. The human voice will be a bit muffled by a mask. It’s not really a big problem for most individuals. But if you suffer from hearing loss and muffled voices suddenly surround you, it may be difficult for you to make out anything being said.
Your Brain Compensates For Hearing Loss
The impediment of sound waves probably isn’t the only reason you’re having trouble 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.
Without you recognizing it, your brain utilizes contextual information to help you comprehend what’s being said, even if you can’t hear it. Your brain will synthesize things like facial expressions, body language, and especially lip movements to compensate for anything it can’t hear.
Many of these visual indicators are concealed when someone is wearing a mask. The position of somebody’s mouth and the motion of their lips is hidden. You can’t even see if it’s a frown or smile behind the mask.
Without that added information, it’s more difficult for your brain to make up 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 regular circumstances, a continually compensating brain can cause significant mental exhaustion, sometimes resulting in impatience or memory loss. Your brain will become even more tired when everybody is wearing a mask (but keep it on because it’s essential for community protection).
The pandemic is uncovering hearing loss by bringing these concerns into focus. It Isn’t creating the condition in the first place, but it may have otherwise gone undetected because hearing loss typically progresses rather slowly. When your hearing initially begins to diminish, you might disregard the symptoms and turn up the volume on the television (maybe you don’t even know you’re doing it).
This is why coming in to see us on a regular basis is so important. Because of the kinds of screenings we carry out, we can diagnose problems with your hearing early, often before you notice it yourself.
This is particularly true for anybody currently having trouble understanding conversations through a mask. We can help you discover methods to help you get through a masked world. Hearing aids, for example, can provide considerable benefits, allowing you to recover 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 reveals hearing loss, it’s important to remember you will need to keep your mask on. Masks save lives and are often mandated. The last thing we should do, no matter how tempting, is remove our mask.
So schedule an appointment with us, wear your hearing aid, and keep your mask on. Sticking with these guidelines will keep you safe and improve your quality of life.