Q. My neighbor and I still wear face masks when we chat. Even with my hearing aids on, his mask makes it harder for me to understand him. What can I for my hearing aids to work better in this situation?
A. Face masks have a negative impact on how a person’s voice sounds – it will reduce the volume of a person’s voice and make the voice less distinct and more distorted. Plus, when they wear a mask, you cannot get clues from a person’s mouth as they speak.
Ask your friend to pull his mask slightly away from his mouth so it does not brush against his lips. This provides for a slightly cleaner sound. Also, ask him to speak just a little slower and a bit louder than normal.
Try these adjustments to your hearing aids so you can hear your neighbor better. First, raise the volume. Second, use a ‘restaurant’ setting that reduces the impact of any ambient noise and makes the hearing aids focus in front of you. Last, use a ‘voice enhancer’ setting to maximize the very soft components of your neighbor’s voice that are diluted more than normal when he wears a face mask. Your hearing center should be able to help you with these features – depending on the limitations of your hearing aids.
Call us at the Better Hearing Center of Austin 512-282-4327 for a thorough, well explained ear and hearing exam. You can listen to new hearing aids at your appointment. We provide 4-week hearing aid trials with follow-up appointments to fully try out hearing aids before you make a final purchase.