You wear your mask when you leave your house, sometimes more than one, and you typically don’t mind. The only trouble is, sometimes it’s tough to hear what other people are saying. Voices are muffled and even distorted when you go to the doctor’s office or store. Sometimes, it’s so bad you can scarcely grasp a single word. They’re also wearing masks, obviously. Our face coverings aren’t really at fault, however. The real problem may be your hearing. Or, to put it another way: those muffled voices you hear during the pandemic might be revealing your hearing impairment.
Speech is Muffled by a Mask
Most quality masks are manufactured to stop the spread of airborne particles or water droplets. In the case of COVID-19, that’s rather beneficial because most evidence indicates that water droplets as a prominent factor (all these results, however, are still in early stages and studies are still being conducted). Curtailing and preventing COVID-19, consequently, has been proven really 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 much of a problem for most people. But if hearing loss is a problem for you and muffled voices suddenly surround you, it may be difficult for you to hear anything being said.
Hearing Loss Makes Your Brain Work Harder
But your difficulty understanding people wearing masks most likely isn’t only because voices are muffled. It’s more involved 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. 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.
Many of these visual hints are hidden when someone is wearing a mask. You can’t see the shape of someone’s lips or the alignment of the mouth. You can’t even tell if it’s a frown or smile behind the mask.
Your brain has a very difficult time trying to translate 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.
The exhaustion of a brain trying to continuously compensate, under normal circumstances, can cause memory loss 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. It Isn’t causing the condition in the first place, but it might have otherwise gone unnoticed because hearing loss usually advances rather slowly. When your hearing first starts to diminish, you may disregard the symptoms and raise the volume on the television (you may not even detect this taking place).
That’s why it’s worthwhile to visit us on a regular basis. Because of the types of screenings we do, we can detect problems with your hearing early, frequently before you notice it yourself.
This is especially true for anybody currently having trouble understanding conversations through a mask. Together we can determine strategies to make you more comfortable speaking with people who are wearing a mask. Hearing aids, for example, can provide substantial benefits, allowing you to recover a lot of your functional hearing range. Hearing aids will make it much easier to hear, and comprehend the voices behind the masks.
Keep Your Mask on
As the pandemic exposes hearing loss, it’s essential to remember you will need to keep your mask on. Masks are frequently mandated or required because they save lives. The last thing we should do, no matter how tempting, is remove our mask.
So make an appointment with us, wear your hearing aid, and keep your mask on. Following these guidelines will keep you safe and enhance your quality of life.