Wearing a mask is a non-negotiable measure that we all need to take in order to stem the spread of the most prolific and deadly pandemic in modern history. It is also a complete and utter pain in the keister.
Let's just consider some of the new discoveries we've all been forced to unveil since regularly mask wearing hit the scene.
First, humidity. Face moistening, inside an outhouse at a music festival air temperature right in your face. And second, the brutal recognition that one's breath is not on par with the aromas of a Yankee candle or some amazing cuisine. It's actually horrible.
And for most of us, that's as far as the difficulties go. The mask is a new discomfort, a mere annoyance.
But for people who are hard of hearing or deaf, the mask is a serious problem. When lip reading and facial expression are primary means of communication, a sudden shield is devastating.
A recent Reddit thread explored the ways mask-wearing has effected the daily lives of that community.
As Bad As You'd Think
"Its absolutely awful. I have trouble in places with a lot of background noise and have to read lips. My wife helps me out a lot but she can't go with me everywhere."
"It's very frustrating."
The Sounds of Charlie Brown's Parents
"Stranger: blahblah blah blaaah mmph...you?"
"Stranger: blahblah blaaah blaaah..mmph...YOU?"
"Stranger: .......you did?"
"Me: running away"
"Don't Be Mad At Me!"
"It's hell. When asking people to speak louder, they usually end up really yelling." -- lismez
"Which doesn't help because their speech is super muffled so it's just blurred together angry noises" -- bozwizard14
"My mom has this gift where she can speak loud enough for you to hear her on the other side of the house (not a small house, but not giant) without sounding like she's crazy mad and without hurting her voice."
"It's my main proof for mom magic." -- DogsBCoolBro
A Good Analysis
"Sign languages without facial expressions it's not as useful as with, and just emphasize them with eyes it's not enough. I'm a sign language interpreter and me, like all my colleagues, always end up with increase the distance and pull down the face mask."
"There's no other way, with the mask up it's as if a part of the grammatical structure of the language is missing and therefore there would still be a flaw in the communication."
"I wear hearing aids and even then sometimes it's hard to get people. But I'll usually say that I wear them and they will make an effort to speak up or speak more clearly."
"What sucks a** is hearing aids, masks, and glasses day. My ears are like WTF bruh? Or the damn string gets twisted in my hearing aid and when I pull the mask off it'll take then hearing aid with it. Then I'm like oh f*** these things are not cheap at all."
"I'm not even hearing impaired, and I've noticed how much I rely on reading lips." -- The_Sherpa
"People always ask me why I put my glasses on when they're talking to me. 'You don't need your glasses to hear' and I'd say, sure I do, I can hear better if I can see your lips moving, even if I'm not actually reading your lips." -- chiefgareth
This Man Person Has Seven Jobs
"I'm a bit hard of hearing. I can hear sounds just fine. A mouse farts two blocks away and it wakes me up. Human speech however is hard to discern. A lot of it sounds like a loud mumble."
"I need to see lips move to help me figure out what the hell is being said. I hate to ask people to say it again so I just smile and say 'yep.' "
"I have no idea what all I've 'agreed' to over the years."
Breaching the Wall
"I can't understand anything people are saying to me anymore. I always have to move to the side of the screens that are up at businesses, or lean really close to people talking."
"I know I shouldn't because of social distancing, but I have to or there's no way I know what people are saying."
Months of Ringing
"It's been a nightmare. I can barely chat with my customers and coworkers because of it, and have taken to the polite 'oh okay' sort of noises. I miss talking and feel like I've decayed."
"On top of that, the only mask that works for me is the kind you tie behind your head. Problem is, if something gets too close to my hearing aid, it starts to whistle, and the mask straps constantly trigger that."
"So even when I am trying to talk to someone, or a customer ambushes me with a question, half of what I'll hear is a faint constant drone in my ear."
"My girlfriend is hearing impaired and this is something she really struggles with. I'm usually interpret for her and answer questions for her when possible."
"Thanks for asking the question, I think a lot of people wouldn't even think about this, so it's nice to get it out there so people can be more understanding of our hard of hearing friends."
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