Ear / March 11, 2021
By: Kelly Warf, Au.D.
Wearing a mask has become an important safety measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, masks have become a burden on communication. This has been difficult for those without hearing loss, but sometimes incomprehensible for those with hearing loss. The masks create a barrier to clear speech and lip-reading abilities.
In a study1 comparing the acoustic impact from different types of masks, the surgical masks, KN95, and 2-layered cotton masks had the least impact on speech (about 4 dB impairment), the N95 slightly more (about 6 dB impairment), and the clear shield and vinyl window masks had the most (up to 13 dB impairment). Masks with clear plastic provide access visual cues, they have a poorer effect on speech understanding.
Tips for better hearing with a mask:
The following are tips for individuals who wear hearing aids:
If you continue to struggle with hearing or your hearing aids with masks, call our office to schedule an appointment with our Audiologists to discuss your options. Schedule today at 847-685-1000.
1. Corey, Ryan M. PhD; Jones, Uriah; Singer, Andrew C. PhD Comparison of the Acoustic Effects of Face Masks on Speech, The Hearing Journal: January 2021 – Volume 74 – Issue 1 – p 36,38,39 doi: 10.1097/01.HJ.0000725092.55506.7e
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The Ear, Nose, and Throat Center (ENT) is the premier Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery group in the northern Chicago suburbs. Our skilled and compassionate doctors can provide you with the latest advancements in total care for diseases, cancer, and disorders affecting the ears (including hearing), nose, mouth, allergy, sinuses, throat, head, and neck. We offer the highest level of specialty care for all ages from pediatric to geriatric.
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