Hearing Blog
Young woman wearing face mask

A new Mask Mode feature could help you understand what people wearing a face mask are saying

Published 17/08/2020
Last Updated 22/10/2020

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.

Now a solution to this common problem is at hand: The new 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 Mask Mode is easy to use.

Signia Xperience Mask Mode

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.

Removing muffled sound without removing the mask

Signia’s new Mask Mode offers a dedicated solution to this new problem for the first time. 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 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.

If you are interested in learning more about Signia Xperience hearing aids, contact us today.