Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Speech, Language and Hearing Science

First Advisor

Kathy Rigley

Second Advisor

Suma Devanga

Third Advisor

Tanya Timmerman


Nonverbal communication constitutes over half of communication in verbal communicators’ production. With so much lost to covering essential parts of expressing nonverbal communication, for example the mouth, this study aims to find how that impacts the general population’s ability to communicate effectively.

A study found that masks act as an acoustic filter for speech and can attenuate high frequencies (Marler & Ditton, 2020). At the most basic level, a facial covering creates a physical barrier to communication.

This study was designed in a survey format to gather data. A total of 95 participants completed the survey in its entirety. The data was analyzed by transferring the raw numbers into an excel sheet. Through excel, I used its functions to calculate repetitions of responses of the participants. After analyzing the results, it is clear that there is a significant perceived change to the general public’s communication efficiency and strategies as a result of facial coverings. Reportedly, more individuals are willing to repeat themselves and ask their communication partner to repeat which in turn will hopefully increase inclusivity in the future for the D/deaf and hard of hearing communities. This experience of communication with facial coverings gives the unaffected hearing individual a sense of what it is like to struggle with verbal communication in different ways.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access