Mwah wah wa wah wah

Friends’ mouths vanished. I roamed shops and streets suddenly filled with featureless people, their speech now as indecipherable as that of Charlie Brown’s invisible schoolteacher: wah wah wah wah wah. Whenever I saw the masks and thought of all they had erased, I felt dismay.

~ Rachel Kolb from,


I read lips quite well thanks to lifelong hearing impairment. When I was intensely working to learn and use French, it took me a while to realize that my subconscious lip reading was causing me trouble. Somehow, someone speaking French caused this subconscious stress from some part of my visual processing brain. I really don’t have words to describe it. I did not realize any of this, until I noticed I had developed a habit of not looking at people when they spoke French.

Obviously, masking affected people who rely to any extent on reading lips. But during our Era of the Masks I’ve been wondering how much the loss of visual information effects everyone. Everyone reads lips. And suddenly you’ve lost that visual comprehension component. Even if it’s subconscious, that’s going to effect us.