In this year, 2020, we have all learned more about infections and disease than we ever thought possible. COVID-19 has thrust infectious pathogens and how they spread to the forefront of our lives. We all know that COVID-19 can be transmitted through sneezing and coughing, which is why we wear masks to cover our nose and mouth. However, were you aware that COVID-19 can also be spread by simply talking?
A study published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that normal human speaking can let out thousands of respiratory droplets that can linger in the air for up to 14 minutes.
In actuality, each time someone speaks, thousands of droplets are expelled from our mouths that are so tiny they can remain in the air for 8 to 14 minutes.
The droplets have the ability to carry infectious pathogens (like COVID-19). These droplets can pass viral particles from one person to another if the other person inhales the infectious particles or actually touches a surface where the droplets have landed.
Speaking loudly can generate more respiratory droplets
This same research also uncovered that loud talking generated more droplets than normal speech, and the droplets traveled even farther.
This research is important for a few different reasons. It lets us know and understand why wearing masks is not only important, but very effective. The research also gives yet another reason why hearing loss treatment is so important and highly recommended. Dr. Archelle Georgiou, Starkey’s Chief Health Officer, says “Hearing is essential, but if you need one more reason to finally get hearing aids, they could decrease the risk of transmitting COVID-19.”
Individuals who have COVID-19 are at their most infectious the day before symptoms develop. Therefore, if your family or friends are infected (but don’t know yet), and speaking louder so you can hear them, they’re likely forcing more infectious respiratory droplets into the air, thus greatly increasing your risk of being exposed to the virus, along with everyone else nearby.
Hearing aids lessen the need of loud talking
It becomes possible to completely participate in conversations with loved ones if your hearing loss is treated with hearing aids. This allows everyone to speak at a normal volume and lessens the need to shout or even talk loudly. Additionally, people who are wearing masks are more easily heard if you’re wearing a hearing aid. Masks eliminate your ability to read lip reading cues, making the added amplification and clarity of speech very useful.
Dr. Georgiou makes it very clear, saying “COVID-19 and the need for social distancing are not going away anytime soon. Getting hearing aids also decreases the risk that social distancing will turn into social isolation.”
And now, our new Mask Mode feature can help Livio, Livio AI or Livio Edge AI hearing aid wearers experience even better communication while wearing masks. Mask Mode is a new custom memory in our Thrive app that offsets the loss of speech audibility due to face masks by boosting sound in the affected frequency regions. To learn more about this brand new feature, click here.
If you're looking to try hearing aids, we can help schedule a safe, hearing healthcare appointment with a clinic in your area! Simply call (888) 919-6824 or click here.