Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all had to take health precautions for the good of public health. These precautions range from staying at home, to social distancing, to wearing face masks. These health precautions can hinder someone with hearing loss and make it even more difficult to communicate.
Face masks cover the wearer’s entire nose and mouth. While this attribute protects everyone’s health, it also makes it impossible for those who rely on lip-reading to do so. By covering the mouth, face masks also reduce the frequencies of speech making it more difficult for hearing aids to be picked up. Dependent on the face mask’s material, the alteration to the frequency of a speaker’s voice varies. This can range between 2000-7000 Hz resulting in a change in decibel between 3 to 12 dB. Therefore, Signia created a Mask Mode feature for its hearing aids.
Signia has implemented their new Mask Mode feature into its app. The new feature helps hearing aid wearers understand others wearing masks more easily. The feature handles specific parameters for better speech understanding. This includes reducing background noise and increasing the volume of the microphone. It can be activated for Signia Xperience hearing aid with Bluetooth connectivity by pushing a button within its app. Mask Mode is available in the Universal hearing program and is near the volume control with a face mask icon. It will be available throughout the duration of the pandemic.