Typically, you don’t mind wearing a mask (or sometimes even two) when you leave your house. Occasionally, though, you have a tough time hearing conversations. When you go to the grocery store or doctor’s appointment, the voices of cashiers and receptionists are muffled, even distorted. Sometimes, you can’t make out anything that’s being said. They’re also wearing masks, obviously. Our face coverings aren’t really at fault, however. It may be your hearing that’s the problem. Or, to say it differently: those muffled voices you’re hearing during the pandemic may be exposing your hearing loss.
Masks Muffle The Human Voice
Most quality masks are designed to stop the spread of airborne particles or water droplets. The majority of evidence points to 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 findings are in early stages). Limiting and stopping COVID-19, as a result, has been proven really effective by wearing masks.
But masks clearly can block the movement of sound waves. Masks can slightly muffle the human voice. It’s not really a big problem for most individuals. But if you suffer from hearing loss and muffled voices are suddenly all around you, it might be hard for you to make out anything being said.
Hearing Loss Makes Your Brain Work Harder
But your trouble understanding people wearing masks probably isn’t simply because voices are muffled. There’s more going on than that. The thing is, the brain is, to some extent, skilled at compensating for fluctuations in sound quality.
Even if you can’t hear what’s happening, your brain will put the situation 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 automatically to help you compensate for what you can’t hear.
Many of these visual clues are concealed when someone is wearing a mask. You can’t see the shape of someone’s lips or the alignment of the mouth. You don’t even know if they are frowning or smiling.
Your brain has a really hard time attempting to translate what’s being said without that added visual information. 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.
The exhaustion of a brain trying to continually compensate, under normal circumstances, can cause loss of memory and irritability. With masks on, your brain will become even more exhausted (it’s important to remember masks are essential protection, so keep them on).
These issues are being brought to your attention and hearing loss is being exposed by the pandemic. Hearing loss typically advances gradually over time and might not have been noticed in different circumstances. When your hearing initially begins to diminish, you may dismiss the symptoms and turn up the volume on the television (you might not even detect this taking place).
That’s why it’s important 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 anyone presently having difficulty comprehending conversations through a mask. We can help you find solutions to help you get through a masked world. For instance, hearing aids can help you get back a lot of your functional hearing range and can provide other significant benefits. Hearing aids will make it much easier to hear, and comprehend the voices behind the masks.
Keep Your Mask on
It’s important to remember to wear your mask even as the pandemic exposes hearing loss. Masks save lives and are often mandated. One of the issues with muffled voices is that people may be tempted to remove their masks, and that’s the last thing we should be doing.
So schedule an appointment with us, wear your hearing aid, and leave your mask on. These initiatives will ultimately enhance your quality of life, and help keep you safe, as well.