Generally, you don’t mind wearing a mask (or sometimes even two) when you go out. At times, however, you have a hard time hearing interactions. Voices are muffled and even distorted when you go to the doctor’s office or store. In some cases, it’s so bad you can scarcely perceive a single word. They’re also wearing masks, obviously. However, the mask may not be the exclusive source of your trouble. The real issue could be your hearing. Or, to say it another way: those muffled voices you’re hearing during the pandemic could be uncovering your hearing loss.
Masks Muffle The Human Voice
Most good masks are manufactured to stop the spread of airborne particles or water droplets. In the instance of COVID-19, that’s pretty useful because the majority of evidence points toward water droplets as a contributing factor (although the science on the spread is still being conducted, so all results are in early stages). Curtailing and stopping COVID-19, as a result, has been proven really effective by wearing masks.
But masks obviously can block the projection of sound waves. Masks can slightly muffle the human voice. For most people, it’s not a big deal. But if you suffer from hearing loss and muffled voices are suddenly all around you, it may be difficult for you to comprehend anything being said.
Hearing Impairment Makes Your Brain Work Harder
The impediment of sound waves probably isn’t the only reason you’re having trouble understanding someone wearing a mask. There’s more to it than that. You see, the brain is very good at compensating for fluctuations in your hearing, up to a point.
Even if you can’t hear what’s going on, your brain will put the event into context and use that information to interpret what’s being said. Your brain will synthesize physical clues like facial expressions, body language, and particularly 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 movements of their lips is hidden. You don’t even know if they are smiling or frowning.
Your brain has a really hard time attempting to translate what’s being said without that extra visual information. 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 conditions, a continuously compensating brain can cause considerable mental exhaustion, often resulting in impatience or loss of memory. Your brain will become even more exhausted when everybody is wearing a mask (but leave it on because it’s important for community protection).
The pandemic is exposing hearing loss by bringing these concerns to your attention. 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 first starts to diminish, you may disregard the symptoms and turn up the volume on the television (you might not even notice this occurring).
That’s why it’s essential to visit us on a regular basis. We can identify early hearing loss, often before you even notice it, because of the screenings we perform.
This is particularly true for anybody currently having difficulty understanding conversations through a mask. Together we can find strategies to make you more comfortable conversing with people wearing a mask. Hearing aids, for example, can offer considerable benefits, allowing you to regain a lot of your functional hearing range. Hearing aids will make it a great deal easier to hear, and comprehend the voices behind the masks.
Keep Your Mask on
It’s essential to remember to wear your mask even as the pandemic exposes hearing loss. Masks save lives and are frequently mandated. One of the problems with muffled voices is that individuals may be tempted to take off their masks, and that’s the last thing we should do.
So keep your mask on, make an appointment with us, and wear your hearing aids. These initiatives will inevitably enhance your quality of life, and help keep you safe, as well.