The COVID-19 pandemic has officially affected the country for six months, and wearing face masks in public has become an essential accessory. While wearing a stuttering device is helpful, there is no doubt that wearing face masks get in the way of what once was clear communication between two or more people. Face masks make pronunciation difficult, hearing strenuous, and breathing challenging for everyone, however, for people who stutter, wearing these debilitating face coverings can make daily communicating harder than ever.
People who stutter without a stuttering device automatically have to think more about what they are saying and how they are saying it. They tend to breathe deeper when talking to relax, however, wearing a mask obstructs easy breathing, causing more discomfort and frustration than before. When someone who stutters starts to think of these obstructions, they tend to become distracted or distraught and begin stuttering more frequently or blocking more than usual. This causes the speaker to be uncomfortable or embarrassed, and the listener to strain to understand.
Because stuttering is a speech impediment, people who stutter without a stuttering device typically speak quieter and have bursts of loud words, which makes it difficult for listeners to understand the conversation as a whole. When wearing a facemask, the clear words are muffled, making communication that much harder for both parties. Some experience that the breaks taken in a sentence for a stutter can be misinterpreted as the speaker being done talking or that the conversation has ended. This results in stutterers being interrupted more often and even getting walked away from in the middle of a sentence because of communication complications.
Day to Day Stress
Stuttering is not only noticed by the listener but also by the talker during a conversation. When one begins to stutter, this causes frustration and impatience. Wearing a face mask also results in similar feelings, so imagine having to deal with both a face mask and a stutter. During a conversation, it seems easier to remove the mask but then pause or put the mask back because the idea of protecting everyone in the conversation is overwhelming. The stress of keeping everyone safe, while trying to also communicate properly and enjoy your time around others doesn’t seem to pair well together and cause most to want to communicate in other less-contact ways.
Patience and Forgiveness
In these tough times, everyone seems to be battling with some form of stress brought on by the pandemic. When communicating with others, everyone must remember that facemasks are uncomfortable to all, and get in the way of everyone’s pronunciation, not just those who stutter. Having ample amounts of patience, understanding, and forgiveness in today’s world is important, and remembering that everyone is trying their best to live life as normal as possible will make everyone more comfortable and relieved.
Speecheasy | Electronic Devices for Stuttering
SpeechEasy is a combination of proven technology and techniques which can be used to reduce stuttering. Worn in one ear and similar in appearance to a hearing aid, SpeechEasy has helped thousands increase their ability to communicate effectively and confidently. The program that comes with every SpeechEasy device is supported by a team of fluency professionals who truly care about your success. Contact us today!