Published on: 24 January 2021

Hearing loss and masks

Whether you are hard of hearing or not, you will probably have noticed that it can be more difficult to understand what people are saying when they are wearing a face mask. Unfortunately, this has become a frequent problem due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This can be very challenging, especially for hard of hearing people – nobody wants to constantly ask others to repeat themselves or ask them to remove their mask so they can be understood.

Difficulty hearing with masks

Hearing with masks

Whether you are hard of hearing or not, you will probably have noticed that it can be more difficult to understand what people are saying when they are wearing a face mask. Unfortunately, this has become a frequent problem due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This can be very challenging, especially for hard of hearing people – nobody wants to constantly ask others to repeat themselves or ask them to remove their mask so they can be understood.

By covering the mouth, face masks not only restrict important visual cues that many people with hearing loss rely on, including lip-reading. They are also proven to significantly muffle speech signals. This means that even people with normal hearing might experience reduced hearing ability of about 30% when talking to someone who is wearing a mask. Our latest insights have shown that with the most commonly used types of masks, this is particularly critical in the hearing range of around 4000 Hz (www.signia.net/en/blog/)

If you wear hearing aids, you may be able to adjust them to account for the effect of face masks on speech. Several manufacturers issued updated settings known as ‘face mask mode’ that you can control via your device's smartphone app. These brands include Signia and Starkey. Contact us for more information on this feature.

Face masks also lower the volume of a person's voice, and they muffle speech clarity. Here are some tips to follow to improve communication, especially when talking to someone with hearing loss:

  • Reduce the room's noise and get the person's attention
  • Ask if the person can hear you 
  • Speak slower and clearer
  • Do not shout
  • Make sure hearing aid wearers are using them
  • If you're not understood, try to rephrase what you said with different words 
  • Take turns while speaking 
  • Do not talk while walking or looking away
  • Don't underestimate the power of body language and eye contact
  • If you have a problem hearing, let your communication partners that you have a hearing problem, and that they need to speak more clearly and slowly. 
Hearing in adults
Article Category:

Related & Most Viewed

Tinnitus

Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

Tinnitus (pronounced TIN-u-tus) is not a disease. It is most often a symptom that something is wr...

read more »
Hearing loss and the brain

How does hearing loss impact the brain?

5 Benefits for the brain in treating hearing loss: How Does Hearing Loss Impact the Brain?...

read more »
Hearing Aids for Adults

Hearing Aids for Adults

Successful hearing aid users are those who are motivated to improve their communication by improv...

read more »

Blog articles we think you might be interested in:

Difficulty hearing

Do I have a hearing problem?

Published on: 19 June 2015

Do I have a problem hearing on the telephone or cell phone? Do I have trouble hearing w...

read more »
Hearing with our brain

Ears are the doorway to the brain

Published on: 19 April 2020

* ...

read more »
Impact of hearing loss

Impact of hearing loss

Published on: 24 January 2021

Hearing loss is not only frustrating for those who have it, but also for their loved ones. Recent...

read more »