3 Tips for Sounding Clear and Expressive While Wearing a Mask

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In these crazy Corona times, wearing masks helps us save lives, but as some of us have realized, there’s a downside to wearing them. They muffle our voice, and make us sound less clear just by the mere fact that people can’t read our lips or see our facial expressions.

As non-native speakers of English, we sometimes feel that we already experience some communication barriers. Usually, without a mask, it is manageable. But wearing a mask can make it a lot more difficult. This is why it is important to know that there are some things we can do to work it out and gain back your clarity.

How? First, remember that clarity is more important than accuracy. For example, without a mask, reductions are great, but when having a mask on, they might compromise your communication. In addition, you need to remember that speech sounds are not equally important. You definitely want your consonants to be clear (without dropping any consonants). And when it comes to vowels, it’s ok if not all of them are accurate, as long as the vowel of the primary stress of the word is clear (as you’ll see in the video).

Also, you don’t want to invest too much energy on every single word. This is true in general, but all the more relevant when wearing a mask. Make sure to take deep breaths in order to support your voice and your message. Then, focus only on the words that drive your message forward. The stressed words should be longer, louder and higher in pitch.

And finally, use your voice in a way that supports you. Head resonance carries your voice a lot better than chest resonance when you have a mask on!

To learn more and to see examples, watch my video:

The most important thing – wear a mask to stay safe, but don’t let it hold you back. Interact, speak up, and be the best version of your masked self in these crazy times.

Love,
Hadar

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13 Comments on “3 Tips for Sounding Clear and Expressive While Wearing a Mask”

  1. Hello Hadar! Thank you for sharing this information. I feel identified with this video because I use mask in my work and by the time I have to teach Spanish I use face shield and I have noted that wearing it I speak a little louder and I think it is not necessary because students can hear me speaking on my regular voice. Also the most mindful thing for me when I speak is the pronunciation and voice since I am more aware about it because sometimes I feel people en general do not understand me very well and that make think that I need to improve my english and speak slowly and clear. Thank you for all you are doing for me to learn more English.

  2. Hey, Hadar!. I thnk this topic is really appropiate in these days, specially for us that we need to speak English as a second language with all your tips we gonna know how to use it from now on When it comes to speak English. In my case, I am taking risks because what I do is taking it off. I do not feel that my message is clear and it is true as you said the effort is doble when yoy have the mask on. On the other hands, there are things that I have noted is having to use the mask is really affecting our communications with others, but I guess it will not last for so long , so no matter what eventhough is difficult to wearing all the time is just for one reason saving our lives and it is a shame having to wear the mask also is affecting our health, so I want to take this opportunity to advice all of you that avoid as much as you can the mask only wearing when you are around people.

  3. Hi Hadar ! I feel I have to make a supplement to my comment I made yesterday to avoid any misunderstanding. What I wrote, it doesn’t mean that the importance of spoken languages, e.g. the high importance of spoken English would decrease. Just the opposite. The significance of beautifully spoken English will enormously increase. The English spoken that way may be understandable through the face mask, as well. (Accompanied maybe by “The Silent Language” of gestures.) Laszlo Latzkovits

  4. Thank you for this great tips, Hadar. By the way, after Covid finish, you rigth, our way to talk, it’ll be easier to express,

  5. The other day I run into this problem at the medical office when I came to the lab appointment. The receptionist was mumbling something through her mask and I wasn’t able to understand a single word, so I asked her to repeat and concentrated completely trying to catch what she was saying. This is another COVID-19’s set back.

  6. Dear Hadar ! Thank you for the new superb exhilarating, “made by Hadar” video. I think your video touches the spot on one of the most important problem of human communication in the future. At present the majority of our Globe’s inhabitants believes that the “Covid-19 epoch” might be long but will end some day. Unfortunately, may be this hope is not true. We have to try to adopt the thought that in the future, like at present, we often will be forced to use face masks, if we don’t want to risk our lives. (Our knowledges about the RNA viruses are still relatively quite sparse. The member of korona-virus family causing Covid-19 is an RNA virus.) Of course, our using languages should be changed. We have to apply perhaps more new gestures. (See: Hall: “Silent language”) Laszlo Latzkovits

  7. Its amazing! I loved your tips, Hadar! I choose the pronunciation and energy. Thank you!!

  8. Very Useful Video ,
    I think the pronunciation is very important when we have the mask on and the Voice should be emphasize the consonants, sometimes the people doesn’t like hear which other speak with energy so I think we have to avoid speak loudly in many places, but like you said it is really dificult to hear another people when is talking with a mask on, so I choose the pronunciation.

    Thanks hadar for your video

  9. Amazing! Thank you very much !
    The thing about the consonants was a revelation actually ☺ never thought about them this way…
    And about resonating too,very useful.
    Sadly I have noone to speak English with☺. Just learning it as Benedict Cumberbatch’s fangirl( fan old women😀) with a hope my knowledge could be helpful to my little grandson when he’ll start to learn English ☺

  10. Nice artical. Even in Covid pandamic nice to see the creative artical and understanding the pain of communication. This is a brilliant example you expressed how masks are important for living and simultaneously you expressed how difficult communication without lips and facial expression. You proved that it’s just language won’t help without human expression.

    Keep posting this kind of expression to understand real hurdles of language communication.

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