Speech Understanding Using Surgical Masks: A Problem in Health Care?

Lisa Lucks Mendel; Gardino, Julie A.; Atcherson, Samuel R.
October 2008
Journal of the American Academy of Audiology;Oct2008, Vol. 19 Issue 9, p686
Academic Journal
Background: Successful communication is necessary in health-care environments. Yet the presence of noise in hospitals, operating rooms, and dental offices may have a deleterious effect on health-care personnel and patients understanding messages accurately. The presence of a surgical mask and hearing loss may further affect speech perception. Purpose: To evaluate whether a surgical mask had an effect on speech understanding for listeners with normal hearing and hearing impairment when speech stimuli were administered in the presence or absence of dental office noise. Research Design: Participants were assigned to one of two groups based on hearing sensitivity in this quasi-experimental, cross-sectional study. Study Sample: A total of 31 adults participated in this study (1 talker, 15 listeners with normal hearing, and 15 with hearing impairment). The normal hearing group had thresholds of 25 dB HL or better at the octave frequencies from 250 through 8000 Hz while the hearing loss group had varying degrees and configurations of hearing loss with thresholds equal to or poorer than 25 dB HL for the same octave frequencies. Data Collection and Analysis: Selected lists from the Connected Speech Test (CST) were digitally recorded with and without a surgical mask present and then presented to the listeners in four conditions: without a mask in quiet, without a mask in noise, with a mask in quiet, and with a mask in noise. Results: A significant difference was found in the spectral analyses of the speech stimuli with and without the mask. The presence of a surgical mask, however, did not have a detrimental effect on speech understanding in either the normal-hearing or hearing-impaired groups. The dental office noise did have a significant effect on speech understanding for both groups. Conclusions: These findings suggest that the presence of a surgical mask did not negatively affect speech understanding. However, the presence of noise did have a deleterious effect on speech perception and warrants further attention in health-care environments.


Related Articles

  • GP Practice: Improve access with triage.  // GP: General Practitioner;1/21/2005, p41 

    The article reports that one surgery's phone triage system is helping general practitioners (GPs) to deliver better access. Now, if a patient wishes to consult a GP, they leave their number with the receptionist, a doctor then calls them back and the consultation is conducted on the phone....

  • Why S.C. needs a statewide health information exchange. Foust, Robin F. // South Carolina Business;May/Jun2011, Vol. 32 Issue 3, p9 

    The article looks at the importance of a statewide health information exchange (HIE) in South Carolina. It mentions various benefits that HIE will offer including improvement of health care and health outcomes of patients, reduction of medical costs, and health professional's accessibility to...

  • Hearing Loss and Speech Privacy in the Health Care Setting: A Case Study. Zapala, David A.; Hawkins, David B. // Journal of the American Academy of Audiology;Mar2008, Vol. 19 Issue 3, p215 

    Ensuring speech privacy has become an important consideration in the design of health care environments. The Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act requirements include the establishment of reason- able technical and procedural methods to protect patient privacy. However,...

  • How computers can help to share understanding with patients. Sullivan, Frank; Wyatt, Jeremy C. // BMJ: British Medical Journal (International Edition);10/15/2005, Vol. 331 Issue 7521, p892 

    Focuses on the importance of multimedia information in medicine. How computers can help patients and doctors in sharing information, with the example of a patient who has a risk of breast cancer; What doctors should do before introducing new information to patients; The problems with real-time...

  • Technology. Greene, Jan // H&HN: Hospitals & Health Networks;08/20/97, Vol. 71 Issue 16, p16 

    Reports on the review of 80 studies on distance-medicine technologies showing that telephone can boost medical care. Diseases and health problems which were improved through telephone contact.

  • A connection to the future world. Johnson, Tom // Ophthalmology Times;5/22/95, Vol. 20 Issue 21, p8 

    Discusses the potential of telemedicine to extend big-city medical expertise to rural patient settings. Contracts announced by the National Coordination Office for High Performance Computing and Communications and the National Library of Medicine; Application of very-high-speed networks to...

  • Responding to Market Trends with Predictive Segmentation. Paddison, Nancy V. // Health Management Technology;Aug2002, Vol. 23 Issue 8, p60 

    Focuses on predictive segmentation in health care as a way to assess and view individuals in the market based on their health status and needs. Comparison with the credit rating of an individual's credit risk; Impact of effective prediction and communication; Effect on managed care.

  • Telemedicine. Swift, Patricia // All Hands;Dec94, Issue 932, p12 

    Focuses on the US Navy's use of an innovative concept called telemedicine to treat sailors. Telemedicine as a three-phase project composed of video teleconferencing, teleradiology and still imagery; Real-time, long-distance voice and image consultation; Effectiveness of the concept; Benefits of...

  • CPT 2008: A Glimpse of the Future of Family Medicine? Hughes, Cindy // Family Practice Management;Jan2008, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p16 

    The article presents an overview of the future of family medicine in the U.S. The author mentions ways on how to deliver health care services, such as additional codes for telephone and online evaluations by which patients will no longer have to meet personally with their physicians for...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics