Acoustic Issues During the Pandemic (12-28-20)

Saunders and colleagues report that wearing facemasks impedes communication; design may, via whiteboards, new signage, etc., partially compensate for this impairment.  As the Sanders team reports, “An online survey consisting of closed-set and open-ended questions [was] distributed within the UK to gain insights into experiences of interactions involving face coverings, and of the impact of face coverings on communication. . . . With few exceptions, participants reported that face coverings negatively impacted hearing, understanding, engagement, and feelings of connection with the speaker. Impacts were greatest when communicating in medical situations. People with hearing loss were significantly more impacted than those without hearing loss. Face coverings impacted communication content, interpersonal connectedness, and willingness to engage in conversation; they increased anxiety and stress, and made communication fatiguing, frustrating and embarrassing – both as a speaker wearing a face covering, and when listening to someone else who is wearing one.”

G. Saunders, I. Jackson, and A. Visram. “Impacts of Face Coverings on Communication:  An Indirect Impact of Covid-19.”  International Journal of Audiology, in press, https://doi.org/10.1080/14992027.2020.1851401