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Author Topic: Mumblers, marble-mouths, and whisperers in the Mask Age  (Read 380 times)
Brad Johnson
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« on: June 29, 2020, 08:42:48 AM »

My hearing isn't the best. It's mostly high-frequency loss, though not bad enough to be debilitating. I also have significant tinnitus in both ears. The remainder of my hearing is actually exceptionally good but, unfortunately, the high-frequency loss means background noise or speakers with high-pitched voices can be troublesome. However, if I can see a speaker's mouth it normally isn't an issue if make it a point to pay attention visually. The audiologist says I'm really not a candidate for hearing aids (a least not yet), and that my practice of being an attentive listener is pretty much what he'd recommend if I wasn't already doing it.

Campus' inception of a mask rule tosses all that out the window. It's especially bad with the ESL students, many of whom tend to speak quietly or indistinctly due to linguistic unfamiliarity. Then there's the subset of native English speakers who insist on mumbling or marble-mouthing their words, or the speakers who respond to uncomfortable situations by toning their voice down to a whisper. Asking them to speak up a bit only makes the problem worse. Think "Officer Hooks in Police Academy"... the more you ask, the quieter they get. Add to this that the building is a neg-air environment with high air turnover so there is constant white noise in the background. It's gotten to where I have to ask darn near everyone to repeat themselves. I don't think people understand just how much a mask affects their voice projection or clarity. This morning I had enough and put a sign on my desk asking people to speak up and enunciate clearly so they can be understood.

Brad
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 07:05:21 AM by Brad Johnson » Report to moderator   Logged

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Hawkmoon
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2020, 08:57:06 AM »

I sympathize. Background noise can be a serious hurdle, and too many people don't understand that. I have a 10% veteran's disability rating due to partial hearing loss. I ain't deef, so that means I probably hear sounds coming out of your mouth. That doesn't mean that I'm hearing intelligible words.
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2020, 09:06:13 AM »

I'm at least 50% in my right ear and tinnitus in both. I remind people about a dozen times I can't hear before I explain it again in a way that would make a sailor blush.
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2020, 09:27:16 AM »

In the last five years, background noise has been a progressively worse problem for me. Over the 10-15 years before that, it was just a problem in places like loud bars where I couldn't tell if a girl was inviting me to her place or telling me to get lost. Now it doesn't take much background noise at all to make it difficult for me to hear people, especially women, who are low talkers. Which can cause this:

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MillCreek
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2020, 09:39:08 AM »

As I have mentioned before, both my wife and I have had significant bilateral hearing losses since birth and were trained to read lips.  With the wearing of masks, our verbal comprehension has gone downhill a lot.  I feel your pain.
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MechAg94
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2020, 11:23:41 AM »

One of the guys at work has some hearing problems.  Reading lips helps his comprehension quite a bit.  He has been having trouble. 
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Mike Irwin
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2020, 12:19:14 PM »

"That doesn't mean that I'm hearing intelligible words."

Well *expletive deleted*it, how do you even function here? 
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230RN
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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2020, 04:39:55 AM »

Mostly the same here, thanks to the days when hearing protection while shooting was unmanly.

Yeah, on the masks, but even before covid-19*, I have had to ask people to turn around since I couldn't understand what they were saying while walking ahead of me.

One happy note is that apparently the drive-up window businesses have improved both their sound systems and the elocution of their personnel.  Used to be a constant "say again" matter with them. Now I can just order and understand them first time.

Incidentally, I am told that a lot of left-ear hearing loss is due to wind blast from an open vehicle window while driving --especially in OTR truckers.

* Nick1911 Edited.  Lets avoid ethnic slurs, please.
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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2020, 10:44:06 AM »

Incidentally, I am told that a lot of left-ear hearing loss is due to wind blast from an open vehicle window while driving --especially in OTR truckers.

I misremember, but either our company nurse or my doctor pooh-poohed that notion.  However, much of my hearing loss is in my left ear, and I used to routinely drive at freeway speeds with my window down when I lived in Arizona years ago.  So I tend to agree with what you've been told as it just makes sense.
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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2020, 11:32:43 AM »

I did a lot of damage to my ears over the years. Shooting for years with no protection. Sometimes 500 plus rounds in an afternoon.

Flying around in a small plane since I was about five.

You ever stand right behind a top fuel dragster? I have many times.

I now wear ear protection doing any of those but it is too late. I always have to yell at my daughter that she can't be walking away from me and ask me something.
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« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2020, 03:55:16 PM »

I misremember, but either our company nurse or my doctor pooh-poohed that notion.  However, much of my hearing loss is in my left ear, and I used to routinely drive at freeway speeds with my window down when I lived in Arizona years ago.  So I tend to agree with what you've been told as it just makes sense.

Seems to me some people just automatically pooh-pooh stuff.

Maybe a lot of this is because some people tend to interpret the scientifically valid "there is no statistically significant difference found between this-a and that-a" to the invalid conclusion, "there is no difference between this-a and that-a."
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Hawkmoon
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« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2020, 04:11:45 PM »

Seems to me some people just automatically pooh-pooh stuff.

Maybe a lot of this is because some people tend to interpret the scientifically valid "there is no statistically significant difference found between this-a and that-a" to the invalid conclusion, "there is no difference between this-a and that-a."

Or they're just sure they know better. A couple of examples:

1. I'm 76 years old. I have worn glasses since I was 12 or 14 years of age, mostly just for reading. Over 50+ years of living with glasses, I have observed that I can go along for two or three or four years with whatever prescription I have. If I go for a checkup and the eye doc deciders I need a new prescription ... within two or three days of wearing the new glasses, if I put on the old ones I can't see though them. Conclusion: eyes adapt to the lenses. I mentioned that to one of the eye docs at the VA hospital a couple of years ago. Her reaction: "That's impossible."

2. When my hip was deteriorating exponentially, I was doing physical therapy at the VA hospital and it wasn't helping. The gal I was working with disappeared into a back room and came back with a book. She leafed through it, and said "I think you have a torn labrum." She then referred me to orthopaedics. The ortho doctor asked me why I was there, so I told him. Again, "That's impossible." I explained that physical therapy hadn't been successful and that the therapist had looked it up before announcing her suspicions. His reaction: "Well, she's only a therapist. I'M a doctor." I mentioned that to her the next time I saw her. She laughed. "I'm a doctor, too, I just don't advertise it in this clinic."


Some folks are too impressed with themselves by half.
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just Warren
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« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2020, 09:01:49 PM »

Mostly the same here, thanks to the days when hearing protection while shooting was unmanly.

This was a thing?

Was it unmanly to use mitts when taking hot pans out of the oven?

Wearing proper clothing for the given weather?

Using bandages to stop the bleeding?
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Hawkmoon
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« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2020, 10:02:50 PM »

This was a thing?


Yes, it was.
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AJ Dual
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« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2020, 05:31:54 AM »

The whole mask situation and trying to communicate with workers across a counter and behind a plexiglass barrier makes me think most everyone has some supplemental lip-reading ability that fills in when our ears aren't up to the task, which we don't notice until it's gone.
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Mike Irwin
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« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2020, 07:31:39 AM »

"Using bandages to stop the bleeding?"

WIMP! You rub some dirt on it and keep on going!
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230RN
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« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2020, 11:25:41 AM »

Yeah, it was a thing, and thanks, Hawkmoon.

I don't think it's possible to pinpoint when earplugs stopped being wimpish (and hence "unmanly") and things changed to a general acceptance of hearing protection, but it seems it noticably shifted in the early or mid- 1970s.  You started to read about "permanent damage" in the gun rags.

I know it was about then that I got myself a pair of custom-molded earplugs from an audiologist.  One of the touted advantages were that they were not obvious in wearing.

They were pretty comfortable but pretty expensive, and after I lost one in the creek, I got a pair of "valved" plugs, where the pressure wave of a shot would close the valve, thereby saving your eardrums.  Supposedly. They sorta worked, but I quit using them because the valving system springs "boinged" with every step or sudden movement.

Very annoying.

About then I started up in competitive shooting at regular ranges (as opposed to the National Forests or the Grasslands) and started to see regular earmuffs appear at the ranges.  I remember when I was assigned to the pits, I was wondering how come everyone was wearing earmuffs way back here since we were 300 yards from the firing line.

When the first shot over the target pits generated that supersonic crack, I realized why.   It was about as loud as a .45 going off without hearing protection and it wasn't long before I stuffed rolled up tissues in my ears.  Crack! A quarter second passes, then Boom.

I still remember tiny pieces of the target fluttering down in the sunlight.

So yeah, it was a thing.

Terry, 230RN
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« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2020, 12:38:54 PM »


I don't think it's possible to pinpoint when earplugs stopped being wimpish (and hence "unmanly") and things changed to a general acceptance of hearing protection...


When the womenfolk and the fruits took over, durnit! Get off my lawn!

What'd you say? I can't hear you!
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230RN
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« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2020, 06:08:30 AM »

Hawkmoon said,

"1. I'm 76 years old. I have worn glasses since I was 12 or 14 years of age, mostly just for reading. Over 50+ years of living with glasses, I have observed that I can go along for two or three or four years with whatever prescription I have. If I go for a checkup and the eye doc deciders I need a new prescription ... within two or three days of wearing the new glasses, if I put on the old ones I can't see though them. Conclusion: eyes adapt to the lenses. I mentioned that to one of the eye docs at the VA hospital a couple of years ago. Her reaction: 'That's impossible.' "

Nonsense.  All kinds of mechanisms in the body are adaptable.  Think about how your lips and resonant mouth cavity learned to whistle particular notes by trial and error with considerable precision, and can even produce the same melody in different keys.

The same thing is true of the voice in singing.

Think how the violinist has learned exactly where, by trial and error, to finger the neck of his instrument for particular notes, even without the guidance of frets. (Except for Jack Benny.)

With eyes, this is called "accommodation," that is the muscles know how to focus the lens correctly for different distances and is certainly adaptable to slightly different external correction.  With age, however, this becomes more difficult.  Maybe that's what your oculist was referring to.

Terry

Fun:

https://youtu.be/x2M_J16z9sk (2:24)
« Last Edit: July 04, 2020, 12:39:32 PM by 230RN » Report to moderator   Logged
zxcvbob
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« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2020, 06:13:12 AM »

Fun:

https://youtu.be/9J1CqjgdJWA (3:16)

I tried to find the one of a younger Tammy Wynette playing the steel guitar, which was spectacular.

Are you sure it wasn't one of the Mandrell sisters?  (I think Barbara played steel)
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230RN
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« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2020, 07:45:42 AM »

Yes, I corrected that, apparently not fast enough.

For some reason I got her stuck in my head, but since I couldn't find the steel guitar thing under her name, I did a little better research and found it was Mandrell.

Sorry about that. Perfection is the enemy of production.
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