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Updated: Nov 22, 2021

Studies have shown that wearing face masks can interfere with speech intelligibility by decreasing projection, and making it more challenging to breathe in, and from the loss of visual feedback of articulatory movements. This causes voice users to increase effort to try to project more and causes vocal fatigue, which worsens the more they speak.

Virtual communication can be impacted with the use of face masks :

  • Facial masks change what individuals hear by decreasing the loudness they hear and filtering out various parts of sounds, particularly the high-frequency sounds that are essential for the intelligibility of spoken language. This issue is more serious when using a phone while wearing a facial mask because these higher important frequencies are filtered out even more.

  • Using face masks decreases visible cues of facial expressions, as well as lip reading people use for enhancing communication. This can make face-to-face communication harder and people must rely more on inference from eye expression. Masks take away your ability to see facial expressions and read lips, which can help you better understand what you're hearing.

  • Masks muffle sound, which makes it harder to understand certain higher-pitched voices and speech.

  • Masks could be uncomfortable for individuals wearing cochlear implants or hearing aids.

  • Speaking with a mask on could be difficult for individuals with communication issues, like voice problems and aphasia.

  • Masks are created from various fabrics and some resist airflow more, which makes it more difficult to breathe normally, leading to more fatigue.

  • People speak louder and with more effort, leading to increased communication frustration and vocal fatigue as a result of the mask's airflow resistance, the decrease in the distortion of sounds, and the loudness individuals hear.

Basically, facial masks increase:

  • Difficulties in speech intelligibility

  • Perception of vocal effort

  • Difficulty in speech coordination and breathing

  • Auditory feedback

And, this is regardless of why the mask is being used, although there’s a greater perception of symptoms of vocal discomfort and fatigue, coordination of breathing and speech, effort, and difficulties in speech intelligibility in people who are using face masks for essential and professional activities.

For further queries about the infections, diseases, and treatments of the ear, nose or throat, Dr Mohanty’s Speciality ENT Clinics in Chennai, India can help in a number of ways,

Dr Mohanty’s Speciality ENT Clinics

Manapakkam, Chennai, India.

For Consultation: +91 97910 74677


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