Do you have mask-induced-hearing-loss?

The universal use of face-masks due to Covid-19 has put an extra strain on our communication. It’s harder to hear someone when they are speaking with a mask covering their face.

The problem…

No visual cues

First, you cannot see a person’s lips, which normally give us extra clues as to what is being said. Second, there are less emotional and non-verbal cues, as less facial expressions are visible.

Speech is unclear

Speaking through a mask can distort the high pitch consonant speech sounds, making it sound as if everyone is mumbling. This can be aggravated by even a slight hearing loss.

Distant speech is softer

Social distancing is critical, but that extra gap between a speaker and listener means that the volume of speech is softer than usual.

Here’s some practical advice to facilitate easier communication…

  1. Have your hearing tested – even a slight loss of hearing can now be problematic
  2. If you have a hearing aid, make sure it has been serviced and reprogrammed recently
  3. Ask the person to speak slower
  4. Rephrase remarks if they aren’t understood
  5. Limit background noise – turn off music and move away from noisy traffic
  6. Face each other and maintain eye contact
  7. Be more intentional with your communication – no flippant comments while you are walking away

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