Hearing And Face Masks – Signia’s New Face Mask Mode

When you were fitted with your hearing devices, your audiologist probably went through some hearing tactics or strategies with you – a hearing aid is just an aid to communication so using these hearing tactics will also augment your hearing.

These tactics may have been:

  • Watch people’s facial expressions and lips – a third of speech information comes from your lips.
  • Make sure your communication partners are nearby so sound doesn’t have to travel too far.
  • Ask others not to shout as this can distort the sound.

Now, with the pandemic and many people wearing masks, these communication strategies have been mitigated:

  • You can’t read people’s lips and some facial expressions of mask wearers
  • You can’t get too close as you need to social distance
  • When you don’t hear what the masked person is saying, they may raise their voice to a shout to be heard, and this will compromise the speech signal even further.

Recognising these issues has led Signia to put a new feature in their smartphone Signia App – Mask Mode.

It’s available for Signia hearing aids with Bluetooth Xperience and will adjust your hearing aids to counteract the effects of muffled or reduced speech through masks. Mask Mode will increase the volume of the mid-frequencies (around 2000Hz) and boost noise reduction features in the Dynamic SoundScape technology.

This will help to improve the speech signal in all environments, even when motion is detected by the hearing aid microphones. If you have a Signia Xperience hearing aid you can activate the Mask Mode in the App’s Universal program. It will stay on until you deactivate it or change to another hearing aid program.

Signia hearing aids boast the unique OVP (Own Voice Processing) technology, which can also be affected if the hearing aid wearer has a mask on. A mask will stop OVP from working as it was designed to, as the mask will stop the processor from recognising your voice. However, Signia recommends that OVP should still be activated as masks are not worn all the time.

OVP will be of benefit to you when you’re at home and not wearing the mask and conversing with loved ones.

So, the message is clear from Signia – good hearing is still possible when communicating in an environment where people are masked. If you have a Signia Xperience hearing device, turn on the Mask Mode and you will be able to continue hearing well in these challenging circumstances.

If you’re not sure your Signia hearing aids have this feature, check with your audiologist to see if this application is available for you.

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