Mature man getting his hearing checked during the pandemic.

You wear your mask when you leave your house, sometimes more than one, and you typically don’t mind. Sometimes, though, you have a hard time hearing conversations. Voices are muffled and even distorted when you go to the store or doctor’s office. Sometimes, you can’t make out anything that’s being said. They’re also wearing masks, of course. Our face coverings aren’t totally at fault, however. The real issue may lie with your hearing. Or, to say it differently: those muffled voices you hear during the pandemic may be revealing your hearing impairment.

Speech is Muffled by a Mask

Most good masks are designed to prevent the spread of airborne particles or water droplets. In the instance of COVID-19, that’s rather useful because the majority of evidence indicates that water droplets as a contributing factor (all these findings, though, are still in early stages and research is still being carried out). Curtailing and stopping COVID-19, as a result, has been shown to be really practical by wearing masks.

But masks clearly can block the projection of sound waves. The human voice will be somewhat muffled by a mask. It’s not really much of a concern for most people. But if you have hearing loss and muffled voices suddenly surround you, it may be hard for you to make out anything being said.

Hearing Impairment Makes Your Brain Work Overtime

The impediment of sound waves likely isn’t the only reason you’re having trouble understanding someone wearing a mask. It’s more involved 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 event 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’re unable to hear.

Many of these visual indicators are hidden when someone is wearing a mask. The position of somebody’s mouth and the motion of their lips is hidden. You don’t even know if they are frowning or smiling.

Mental Fatigue

Without that additional information, it’s harder for your brain to compensate for the audio clues you aren’t getting automatically. 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 conditions, a continually compensating brain can cause significant mental exhaustion, sometimes resulting in impatience or loss of memory. Your brain will become even more tired when everyone is wearing a mask (but keep it on because it’s essential for community protection).

Hearing Solutions

These concerns 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 other circumstances. When your hearing first starts to decline, you may dismiss the symptoms and raise the volume on the television (you might not even recognize this happening).

That’s why it’s worthwhile to visit us on a regular basis. Because of the types of screenings we do, we can diagnose problems with your hearing early, frequently before you notice it yourself.

If you are having a hard time understanding what people are saying when they’re wearing a mask, this is especially true. We can help you find solutions to help you navigate a masked world. Hearing aids, for instance, can produce considerable benefits, allowing you to regain much of your functional hearing range. Voices behind the mask will be easier to hear and understand with hearing aids.

Keep Your Mask on

As the pandemic reveals hearing loss, it’s crucial 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 take off our mask.

So leave your mask on, schedule an appointment with us, and wear your hearing aids. These efforts will inevitably improve your quality of life, and help keep you safe, as well.

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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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