How Masks Affect Communication
They muffle voices: Speech is always harder to understand whenever you have something in front of your mouth. Wearing masks makes understanding soft speakers especially difficult, and yelling will distort speech.
They cover your mouth: While they’re a great health precaution, masks get in the way of lip-reading. People who have hearing loss often rely on that technique to match sounds with words.
They fog up glasses: You may struggle with blurry glasses and sunglasses depending on the type of face covering you’re wearing. The moisture from your breath can escape through the top of your mask and fog your glasses, making it challenging to see non-verbal cues.
The straps get it the way: That is especially problematic for people with behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. The straps can tangle with tubing and may dislodge your devices when you remove them from your ears. That puts you at a greater risk of losing one or both of your hearing aids.
Practice Good Communication Techniques
Here are some communication tips for people with and without hearing loss:
- Face the person you’re speaking to and get their attention before you start talking.
- Speak slowly and at a normal volume.
- Rephrase sentences if the person you’re speaking with cannot understand you.
- Repeat what you heard to the speaker to verify you understood correctly.
- Take turns talking and don’t interrupt.
- Reduce background noise during your conversation.
- Ask for written responses if you’re still struggling. That technique is essential during doctor’s visits to avoid medical miscommunications.
- Turn your hearing aids on and adjust the volume if necessary.
Hearing Aids and “Mask Mode”
Because wearing masks has created listening problems for hearing aids wearers, manufacturers like Oticon and Starkey created “mask mode.” This setting adjusts your hearing aids to help you hear better while others are wearing face masks. And you can control mask mode with an app on your smartphone.
Your audiologist can also adjust your hearing aids if your devices don’t have mask mode. They can tweak the volume, treble and bass of your hearing devices without creating additional feedback, so you can enjoy conversations with or without masks.
Audio Help Hearing Centers offers comprehensive hearing evaluations and cutting-edge hearing technology so you can enjoy a quality listening experience. Call 888-832-9966 or contact us online to schedule your appointment.