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. 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 perceive a single word. They’re also wearing masks, obviously. However, the mask might not be the only source of your difficulty. The real problem may be your hearing. Or, to say it another way: those muffled voices you hear during the pandemic might be exposing your hearing loss.
The Human Voice is Muffled by a Mask
Most good masks are manufactured to prevent the spread of airborne particles or water droplets. In the instance of COVID-19, that’s pretty useful because most evidence indicates that water droplets as a prominent factor (although the science regarding the spread is still being conducted, so all findings are preliminary). Limiting and stopping COVID-19, as a result, has been shown to be very practical by wearing masks.
However, those same masks interfere with the projection of sound waves. Masks can slightly muffle the human voice. For most people, it’s not a problem. But if you have hearing loss and muffled voices suddenly surround you, it could be hard for you to hear anything being said.
Hearing Loss Makes Your Brain Work Harder
The obstruction of sound waves likely isn’t the only reason you’re having difficulty comprehending someone wearing a mask. It’s more involved than that. The thing is, the brain is, to some extent, adept at compensating for variations in sound quality.
Even if you’re unable to hear what’s going on, your brain will put the situation 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 anything it can’t hear.
When someone is wearing a mask, many of those visual 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 frown or smile behind the mask.
Your brain has a very hard time attempting to interpret 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.
Under regular circumstances, a continuously compensating brain can cause significant mental exhaustion, often resulting in irritability or loss of memory. With masks in place, your brain will become even more fatigued (it’s important to remember masks are essential protection, so keep them on).
These issues are being brought into focus and hearing loss is being exposed by the pandemic. Hearing loss typically develops gradually over time and might not have been detected in different circumstances. When your hearing initially begins to diminish, you may disregard the symptoms and raise the volume on the television (maybe you don’t even notice you’re doing it).
That’s why it’s important to visit us on a regular basis. Because of the types of screenings we carry out, we can diagnose problems with your hearing early, frequently before you notice it yourself.
If you are having a tough time understanding what people are saying when they are wearing a mask, this is particularly true. We can help you discover strategies to help you get through a masked world. For example, hearing aids can help you get back a lot of your functional hearing range and can supply other significant benefits. Hearing aids will make it a lot easier to hear, and comprehend the voices behind the masks.
Keep Your Mask on
As the pandemic reveals 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 leave your mask on, make an appointment with us, and wear your hearing aids. Following these guidelines will keep you safe and enhance your quality of life.