The "new normal" has made masks a necessary part of one's daily getup. Those with prior hearing problems have noticed the gravity of their condition when they started to strain to hear what other people are saying with their masks on.

A report from the Associated Press revealed that hearing problems have become more obvious, now that people are wearing masks. Most of those working at healthcare facilities who don their masks and face shields the entire day, report that their hearing loss became more noticeable.

One of those who reported hearing problems was 52-year-old nurse Teri Wheat, who works at a maternity ward in Texas. She narrated how she realised that she found it harder to understand what new mothers were saying. When she had her hearing tested, it was confirmed that she had hearing problems and now, she is wearing hearing aids. She said that her hearing loss became more noticeable with more barriers that she needed to have from the patients.

The director of the hearing clinic at the University of Texas, Andrea Gohmert, said that it is very likely that those whose hearing loss became noticeable already had an issue before. But at the time, they were adapting. She added that hearing loss would often happen gradually. Audiologists say that patients would often wait around seven years in order to get their hearing tested.

For Wheat, she had her hearing test done in August at the Callier Center. She noted that before the pandemic, she would always ask her kids to repeat what they say. People would often point out that she listens to her television or her computer with the volume turned up.

According to Healthy Hearing, masks and other barriers make it harder for people with hearing impairments. The coping mechanism, which is to stand close to a person has been eliminated because of physical distancing.

Catherine Palmer, Western Pennsylvania health care system audiology director said that those with normal hearing are able to manage even if people are wearing masks. However, those who have hearing issues, find it more difficult.

Throughout the U.S., hearing specialists have already seen an increase in the number of visits from people suffering from hearing loss. It was only during the pandemic that they realised that they have been relying so much on facial expressions and lip-reading, until masks became a part of the new normal.

Hearing problems worsened during pandemic. Photo: Pixabay