Signia’s new Face Mask Mode: Helping you understand speech through face masks
Beyond the threat to public health, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged nearly all aspects of our lives, including one of the most basic – how we communicate.
Wearing a face mask has become common practice in the midst of the pandemic. Whether you have hearing loss or not, you have probably noticed that it can be more difficult to understand what people are saying when they are wearing a mask. For hard of hearing people in particular, this can be very challenging – nobody wants to constantly ask people to repeat themselves or ask them to remove their mask so they can be understood.
However, a solution to this new problem is now available: the new Face Mask Mode in the latest version of the Signia app. Compatible with all Bluetooth-equipped Signia Xperience hearing aids, this unique 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 new Face Mask Mode will be available for as long as this pandemic lasts.
How face masks make it harder to understand what’s being said
You might wonder why this Face Mask Mode feature is so important right now. While face masks and physical distancing are both vital to help us protect each other from infection, 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.
Remove muffled sound without removing the mask
Signia’s new Face Mask Mode is the first solution to this new problem. 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 on the top right, next to the volume slider. You can easily activate Face 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. For the first time, 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 Face Mask Mode by simply tapping the button again, and it turns back to grey. The hearing aids 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. Face 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 Face 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 Face Mask Mode in the Signia app are Android 6.0 or iOS 11.
Discover Signia Xperience hearing aids’ revolutionary Face 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 locator.