“Could you please repeat that?”  If you are noticing that you are asking that more now than ever before, you may be affected by the phenomenon started when mandatory mask-wearing was in force.

Nick Gray, owner-operator of the Clermont Beltone hearing clinic, is well aware of this.

“We are seeing numerous patients come in who hadn’t realized previously that they had hearing loss, whereas mask wearing has made them actually realize it,” said Gray. “Many new patients had thought that they did not have hearing issues pre-COVID, but discovered that they had indeed been reading lips to make up for their impairment.  

“The masks have illustrated this fact since the masks block the mouth,” he said. “Also, different types of masks reduce decibel-level effects on hearing.”

One of  Clermont’s Beltone hearing clinic patients, Joyce Meadows of Winter Garden, emphasized this fact.

“You don’t realize that you are reading lips at first, because as long as I could see the person I was having a conversation with, I understood them,” she said. I did start to notice when I was at Bible Study and the speaker was across the room, I had a hard time hearing them.

“Then, when everyone was wearing masks, I really had no idea what they were saying.  My mother was hard of hearing and now I realize that she was reading lips just to get by,” Meadows said. “Now, my sister and I have hearing aids that we can adjust to hear the television more clearly instead of just turning the volume up on the TV.  

Hearing aids have improved her quality of life. Now when she goes to her bible studies, she hears each conversation and the speakers more clearly.”

SIGNS OF HEARING LOSS (a partial listing)

Asking people to repeat what they just said

Turning up the volume on TVs, radios, internet sites such as YouTube

Difficulty hearing conversations clearly when background noise is present

Struggling to focus on more than one voice at a time.


Beltone offers free tests to detect any hearing loss and can advise treatments. Appointments can be made at 352-432-1717.

The Clermont Beltone office is located at 1715 State Road 50, Unit A, Clermont.

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