New Study Examines How Face Masks Affect Speech Recognition in Background Noise
Researchers at Villanova University found that in low levels of background noise (for the purposes of recognizing spoken sentences immediately after presentation), face masks have a small effect related to speech production without a mask, and some masks have no effect. In high levels of background noise, the effects of different mask types become more apparent.
Homemade cloth masks and N95 respirators had the largest impact on speech recognition while surgical masks had no effect.
Toscano J, Tocasno C. (2021) Effects of face masks on speech recognition in multi-talker babble noise. PLOS ONE. February 24