Teaching in a Mask? Avoid the Mask Muffle!

If you teach in a hybrid/flexible course environment and wear a face mask, you're probably aware of how hard it can be to communicate clearly. Some face masks obscure speech, making it hard for students to understand what you're saying. We tested three different masks with three microphones commonly found in FSU tech-enhanced classrooms. Want to avoid the mask muffle? Watch the demonstrations below and see what combinations work best.

mic #1: Shure mv-5 wired

mic #2: AKG Wireless

mic #3: rode wireless go

Sound Quality Ratings by Mask

icon of mask with two stard


surgical mask

With its consistent sound quality regardless of the mic used, the surgical (paper) mask performed the best of all three we tested. We give it three stars and recommend it as our top pick for teaching in a hybrid/flexible course environment.

icon of mask with three stars


2-layer mask

The homemade, two-layer mask performed well with the Shure wired mic but not as well with either of the two wireless mics we tested. We give it two stars. It may be a decent choice in classrooms where the mic is wired, but it's not our top pick.

icon of mask with one star


3-layer mask

In all three tests, the three-layer FSU mask muffled the most sound. For best sound quality, we recommend choosing a different mask when teaching a hybrid/flexible course (assuming you're able to follow appropriate physical distancing).