Masks and Communication
Due to COVID-19, many people are using masks. Masks can make communicating more difficult because they muffle sound and block our lips and mouth, making it harder to see facial expressions and read lips. This can be even harder for those who are learning how to read social cues (i.e., signals people send through body language and expressions), have difficulty communicating, or have hearing impairments.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help everyone communicate more effectively while wearing masks:
- Stand facing the other person
- Get their attention before talking
- Use gestures and body language more frequently
- Speak a little louder (but don’t shout)
- Speak a little slower
- Write information down
- Talk in a quiet environment (if you can)
- Ask the other person if they can understand you
- Use different words to get your message across if the other person didn’t understand you
- Use masks with clear panels, clear plastic face shields, or clear barriers between you and the other person to help them see more of your face while you talk
When in doubt, check and see if you can do something to make it easier for the other person. We all have different abilities and strengths, so it’s always good to see what works best for the other person.
-Alison Rogers, M.S., CCC-SLP
American Speech, Language, and Hearing Association (2020).Communicating Effectively While Wearing Masks and Physical Distancing. Retrieved from https://www.asha.org/public/communicating-effectively-while-wearing-masks-and-physical-distancing/