St.Margaret's News August 2021 - Page 8

Communication challenge

Greg Cornwell , a past ACT politician and member of Wesley UCA , had a letter to the editor published in The Canberra Times on 18 August 2021 . It raised the issue of “ masked mumblers ”, saying that for some it is difficult to understand or even hear sometimes if people being interviewed on TV are wearing masks .
Coincidentally , the Deafness Forum of Australia ’ s “ oneinsix ” newsletter of 18 August 2021 arrived in my email letterbox the same day . It included an article about how we can ’ t expect people who rely on lip reading to communicate with people wearing a mask . That article is reproduced below as I thought it may be of interest , if not real help , to some readers .
Quite a number of St Margaret ’ s folk will have experienced this problem for themselves during these mask wearing times . Perhaps some of them are not aware that people are permitted to remove their masks when speaking to someone who needs to lipread them . Of course , staff in shops may well not know they can remove their masks in such circumstances either - and those who do know may be reluctant to take their masks off anyway .
So there is no easy solution - although the “ oneinsix ” article below does identify a couple of options . It also provides the wording of the relevant rules .
- Brian Rope
“ Communication can be a challenge for the deaf and hearing-impaired , and the mandatory wearing of face masks during COVID-19 has only made it more so .
People with hearing loss rely on facial expressions and clear speech when interacting with others , and a patch of cloth across the mouth of a speaker robs them of this ability .
Depending on the type of face mask , studies have shown they can reduce the clarity of speech and lower the volume between five and 15 decibels . Speech is not only quieter when wearing a mask , but also more muffled .
The mask straps also interfere with devices such as hearing aids , which sit behind the user ’ s ears .
St Margaret ’ s News 8 August 2021