McDonald Hearing Services - Grand Rapids, MI

Mature man getting his hearing checked during the pandemic.

Generally, you don’t mind wearing a mask (or sometimes even two) when you leave your house. Occasionally, though, you have a hard time hearing interactions. When you go to the grocery store or doctor’s appointment, 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. The real issue could lie with your hearing. Or, to put it another way: those muffled voices you’re hearing during the pandemic might be exposing your hearing impairment.

Masks Muffle The Human Voice

Most quality masks are manufactured to prevent the spread of airborne particles or water droplets. In the case of COVID-19, that’s pretty useful because the majority of evidence indicates that water droplets as a prominent factor (all these findings, however, are still preliminary and research is still being carried out). Curtailing and preventing COVID-19, as a result, has been proven really practical by wearing masks.

But masks obviously can stop 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 hearing loss is an issue for you and muffled voices are suddenly all around you, it could be difficult for you to hear anything being said.

Your Brain Compensates For Hearing Loss

The impediment of sound waves likely isn’t the sole reason you’re having trouble comprehending someone wearing a mask. There’s more going on than that. The thing is, the brain is, to some extent, adept at compensating for variations in sound quality.

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. 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 linguistic cues are obscured. You can’t see the shape of somebody’s lips or the alignment of the mouth. You don’t even know if they are frowning or smiling.

Mental Fatigue

Without that additional information, it’s more difficult for your brain to compensate for the audio information you aren’t receiving automatically. That means you’re more likely to hear nothing but mumbles. And your brain will get tired even if it is able to piece together what was said.

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

Hearing Solutions

These issues are being brought into focus and hearing loss is being uncovered by the pandemic. Hearing loss usually advances slowly over time and might not have been noticed in different circumstances. In the early stages of hearing loss we normally don’t even notice it and often start raising the volume on our devices (you may not even recognize this taking place).

That’s why it’s essential to visit us on a regular basis. We can diagnose early hearing loss, frequently before you even notice it, because of the screenings we perform.

This is particularly true for anybody currently having difficulty comprehending conversations through a mask. We can help you find methods to help you get through a masked world. Hearing aids, for instance, can produce substantial benefits, allowing you to recover much of your functional hearing range. Voices behind the mask will be easier to hear and comprehend with hearing aids.

Keep Your Mask on

As the pandemic reveals hearing loss, it’s essential to remember you will need to keep your mask on. Masks save lives and are frequently mandated. The last thing we should do, no matter how tempting, is take off our mask.

So schedule an appointment with us, use your hearing aid, and keep your mask on. Sticking with these recommendations will keep you safe and improve your quality of life.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment