Audio Life Hearing Center- Knoxville, TN

Mature man getting his hearing checked during the pandemic.

You wear your mask when you leave your house, sometimes two of them, and you typically don’t mind. The only trouble is, sometimes it’s difficult to hear what other people are saying. When you go to the grocery store or visit your doctor’s office, 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, obviously. However, the mask may not be the only source of your difficulty. It may be your hearing that’s the problem. Or, to put it another way: those muffled voices you’re hearing during the pandemic could be exposing your hearing loss.

Masks Muffle The Human Voice

Most good masks are made to stop the spread of airborne particles or water droplets. In the case of COVID-19, that’s rather useful because the majority of evidence indicates that water droplets as a contributing factor (all these results, however, are still in early stages and research is still being carried out). Limiting and stopping COVID-19, as a result, has been proven really effective by wearing masks.

Unfortunately, those same masks interfere with the projection of sound waves. Masks can block the human voice slightly. It’s not really a big concern for most individuals. But if hearing loss is a problem for you and muffled voices are suddenly all around you, it might be hard for you to understand anything being said.

Hearing Impairment Makes Your Brain Work Overtime

The impediment of sound waves likely isn’t the sole reason you’re having difficulty comprehending someone wearing a mask. There’s more going on than that. You see, the brain is really good at compensating for changes in your hearing, up to a point.

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. 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 obscured. The position of somebody’s mouth and the motion of their lips is hidden. You don’t even know if they are smiling or frowning.

Mental Fatigue

Your brain has a very hard time trying 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.

The fatigue of a brain trying to continually compensate, under normal circumstances, can cause memory loss and impatience. Your brain will become even more exhausted when everybody is wearing a mask (but leave it on because it’s important for community protection).

Hearing Solutions

The pandemic is revealing hearing loss by bringing these concerns to your attention. Hearing loss commonly develops gradually over time and might not have been recognized in different circumstances. When your hearing first starts to decline, you might ignore the symptoms and turn up the volume on the television (maybe you don’t even realize you’re doing it).

That’s why it’s essential to visit us regularly. Because of the kinds of screenings we carry out, we can detect issues with your hearing early, frequently before you notice it yourself.

If you are having a difficult time understanding what people are saying when they are wearing a mask, this is especially true. Together we can determine strategies to make you more comfortable speaking with people wearing a mask. Hearing aids, for example, can produce considerable benefits, allowing you to recover much of your functional hearing range. Hearing aids will make it much easier to hear, and understand the voices behind the masks.

Keep Your Mask on

As the pandemic exposes hearing loss, it’s important 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, regardless of how tempting, is remove our mask.

So keep your mask on, make an appointment with us, and use your hearing aids. Sticking with these guidelines will keep you safe and improve your quality of life.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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