Experimental determination of the acoustical effects of face masks on speech effort



The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a global trend in mask wearing. This study investigates how wearing face masks influence the output levels of the human vocal range. Masks were equipped onto a test fixture to evaluate acoustic insertion loss over whole-octave bands important for vocal transmission. With the exception of face shield, tested masks showed less than 2 dB of insertion loss at frequencies less than 2 kHz and up to 5 dB of attenuation at frequencies above 2 kHz. The face shield showed insertion loss of more than 10 dB in the 4 and 8 kHz octave bands.