How to improve communication with face masks ?
Improving communication with face masks when worn worn, and social distancing is especially difficult for people with hearing loss because of reduced visual and auditory input. Some research shows that there is approx 4-12 decibel decrease in volume depending on the mask being worn.
Face masks are now required in many public places to help prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).
Tips and strategies to improve communication if you have a hearing loss and are confronted by someone wearing a face mask.
- Consider an approved clear face shield to maximize lip/face cues
- Do not remove your mask while speaking.
- Reduce the background noise as much as possible or move to a quieter location.
- Always maintain a eye contact while you begin keeping a safe distance.
- Seeing faces means you can read lips and visual cues that help clarify conversations.
- Grab the person’s attention by saying or gesturing .
- Rephrase rather than just repeat what was not heard
- Ask others to talk slowly and not shout.
- While speaking one needs to care to be very normal or cut the pace when you speak.
- One should speak slightly louder but should not yell
- A shorter phrase and every day used words should be used while talking.
- Write on a paper or a phone if you are in an environment conducive to writing this may be helpful and less frustrating for both of you.
- One can also check with E-writer, ‘smart’ paper LED writing tablets
- One can also check with Speech to text apps try it at an distance and be comfortable. STT apps use the microphone on your smart phone, tablet or other device, to pick up the speaker’s voice translate it as text on your screen.
During this time of pandemic we all are in this together. The consequence of wearing a masks though will make life more difficult for people with hearing loss but few tips mentioned above would help . People with hearing loss should learn and explore the possible methods to ensure conversation are heard as before.