Whether you are hard of hearing or not, you will probably have noticed that it can be more difficult to understand what people are saying when they are wearing a face mask. Unfortunately, this has become a frequent problem due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This can be very challenging, especially for hard of hearing people – nobody wants to constantly ask others to repeat themselves or ask them to remove their mask so they can be understood.
From today (December 8, 2020), our solution to this new problem has been enhanced and refined further: The latest Mask Mode in the Signia app. Compatible with all Bluetooth-equipped Signia Xperience hearing aids, this revolutionary feature enables hearing aid wearers to better understand what people wearing face masks are saying. Activated by a simple tap of a button in the app, the Mask Mode will be available for as long as this pandemic lasts.
How face masks make it harder to understand what is being said
You might be wondering why this Mask Mode feature is so important right now? The answer is that while face masks and physical distancing are both vital to help us protect each other from a rapidly increasing infection rate with the coronavirus, they also pose a serious challenge to speech intelligibility for anyone with even mild hearing loss.
By covering the mouth, face masks not only restrict important visual cues that many people with hearing loss rely on, including lip-reading. They are also proven to significantly muffle speech signals. This means that even people with normal hearing might experience reduced hearing ability of about 30% when talking to someone who is wearing a mask. Our latest insights have shown that with the most commonly used types of masks, this is particularly critical in the hearing range of around 4000 Hz and so the Mask Mode has been enhanced accordingly. This update shows how Signia continuously translates its audiological insights into technological innovations to enhance your hearing performance.
Removing muffled sound without removing the mask
Signia’s innovative Mask Mode has offered a dedicated solution to the problem of understanding people with face masks since July. It is available in the Signia app under the Universal hearing program and appears on the screen as a button with a face mask icon at the top right next to the volume slider. You can easily activate Mask Mode by tapping the button, which then turns from grey to red. While it is switched on, the hearing aids optimally capture the sound of the speech signals so that the words sound clearer and any background noise is reduced to help you understand what is being said. The result: You can remove the muffled sound without removing the mask!
When you have finished talking to the person wearing a mask, you can just as easily deactivate Mask Mode by simply tapping the button again, and it turns back to grey. The hearing aids then once again let you hear all your surroundings in natural-sounding harmony because you no longer need to focus your attention on a person’s speech signals muffled by a face mask. Mask Mode also automatically deactivates when you change hearing aid settings in the app, for example resetting the hearing aids or changing the hearing program.
The new Mask Mode button is available with the Signia hearing aids Styletto X, Pure Charge&Go X, and Pure 312 X. The minimum operating system requirements for your smartphone or tablet so you can use Mask Mode in the Signia app are Android 6.0 or iOS 11.
Discover Signia Xperience hearing aids’ revolutionary Mask Mode via the Signia app today.
If you are interested in learning more about Signia Xperience hearing aids, you can find your nearest hearing care professional via our easy-to-use online Store Locator.