You wear your mask when you leave your house, sometimes more than one, and you generally don’t mind. The only trouble is, sometimes it’s hard to hear what other people are saying. 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, of course. However, the mask may not be the only source of your trouble. The real problem may lie with your hearing. Or, to say it differently: those muffled voices you’re hearing during the pandemic could be exposing 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 very useful (even though the science regarding the spread is still being conducted, so all results are in early stages). This means that masks have proven very successful at curtailing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
However, those same masks impede the projection of sound waves. Masks can block the human voice somewhat. It’s not really a big concern for most individuals. But if you suffer from hearing loss and muffled voices suddenly surround you, it might be difficult for you to make out anything being said.
Your Brain Compensates For Hearing Impairment
The impediment of sound waves likely isn’t the sole reason you’re having trouble comprehending someone wearing a mask. There’s more going on than that. You see, the brain is really good at compensating for fluctuations in your hearing, up to a point.
Without your awareness, your brain makes use of contextual information to help you comprehend what’s being said, even if you are unable to hear it. Facial expressions, body language, 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 visual cues are hidden. The position of someone’s mouth and the motion of their lips is hidden. You don’t even know if they are frowning or smiling.
Without that added information, it’s harder for your brain to make up for the audio information you aren’t receiving 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 normal circumstances, a continuously compensating brain can cause significant mental fatigue, sometimes resulting in impatience or memory loss. With masks on, your brain will become even more exhausted (it’s important to remember masks are essential protection, so keep them on).
The pandemic is revealing hearing loss by bringing these issues to your attention. It Isn’t causing the condition in the first place, but it may have otherwise gone undetected because hearing loss typically advances quite slowly. When your hearing first starts to decline, you may disregard the symptoms and raise the volume on the television (you may not even recognize this occurring).
That’s why it’s worthwhile to visit us regularly. Because of the kinds of screenings we do, we can diagnose problems with your hearing early, often before you notice it yourself.
This is especially true for individuals presently having trouble comprehending conversations through a mask. We can help you discover solutions to help you get through 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 comprehend the voices behind the masks.
Keep Your Mask on
It’s important to remember to keep your mask on even as the pandemic exposes hearing loss. Masks save lives and are often mandated. One of the problems with muffled voices is that individuals might be tempted to remove their masks, and that’s the last thing we should be doing.
So schedule an appointment with us, use your hearing aid, and keep your mask on. These efforts will inevitably enhance your quality of life, and help keep you safe, as well.