Understanding Hearing Loss

Over 48 Million Americans suffer from some form of hearing loss

Learn About Hearing Loss

The effect of sounds on our minds, moods and memories is unique from one person to the next. Think about the sounds that bring a smile to your face. These sounds are an essential part of enjoying and participating in life. A person’s ability to hear clearly can be impacted by certain medical conditions, genetics, accidents, prolonged exposure to loud noises or even aging.

What Is Your Hearing Telling You?

- Do family and friends often have to repeat what they say?
- Do you have trouble understanding your favorite television program at normal volumes?
- Is it a challenge to follow the conversion in a noisy restaurant or at a party?
- Does talking on the phone feel harder than it should be?
- Do you feel more fatigued after social interactions?

If you answered yes to any of these questions – you may benefit from getting your hearing tested with an expert hearing healthcare professional.

Do Hearing Aids Help Speech Recognition?

At one time or another, we’ve all missed a few things because we weren’t listening as well as we should have been. But that’s a much different problem than not being able to hear well enough to understand what people around you are saying. Note being able to hear properly can be both frightening and frustrating.

For many people, living with a hearing loss makes life challenging at first. But with the right help and guidance, life can be good again.

Hearing aids can help with both amplification and clarity of sound. But the bottom line for many people is speech recognition. That means it is important to choose the right kind of hearing aid for the type of hearing loss you are experiencing. The good news is that age-related hearing can often be treating by choosing devices that offer the ability to tune the combination of volume and clarity. That way you get a hearing aid personalized to your specific type of hearing loss. This means you typically cannot buy a set of hearing aids “off the shelf” and expect them to deliver full, clear sound. An audiologist is trained to work with you to determine your type of hearing loss and plan the right type of hearing aid.

How to Avoid Embarrassment Due to Hearing Loss

People who develop hearing loss know how complicated life can become when it sets in. And as time goes by, your loss of hearing can affect important relationships, affect your business or social life, and lead to emotional changes that you may hardly recognize at first.

It can be all too easy to give up on a full existence if you don’t want to deal with your hearing loss. You simply learn to nod and smile when you don’t hear what someone has just said. But deep down, you really do want to know what the world is saying around you.

For some people, it’s embarrassing to ask friends, family, and business associates to repeat themselves.

It can become a habit to simply give up trying to understand what people are saying. But you’re not alone. Millions of people experience hearing loss during their lifetimes. And there is hope. Understanding how hearing loss occurs and how it affects you can lead to a better strategy for life with hearing impairment.

Is Muffled Speech Caused By Hearing Loss?

Typically people view hearing loss as a volume problem. Normal sounds get muffled or too low to hear properly. But hearing impairment can also affect the clarity of what you hear as well. This can be extremely frustrating when you’re trying to follow the pattern of a conversation. If the sounds are muffled by hearing loss, it can be enormously frustrating to try to keep up.

How Does Hearing Loss Affect Sounds & Speech?

The ability to detect the difference between spoken words is known as word recognition, also called speech discrimination. Hearing loss can result in a reduced ability for word recognition.

It happens because you’re sending fewer cues to the brain about the nature of the sound you’re hearing. In the English language, for example, many words can only be told apart through small differences in sound called “phenomes.” It sounds silly, but these little sounds are often what help us make sense of all human language. Some of these sounds are found in the higher frequency range, which are often the first levels of sound to disappear for many people.

How is The Brain Affected By Hearing Loss?

A reduction in sound cues to the brain can result in impaired cognitive processing. When someone is speaking, your brain has to translate the sounds that come in through your ears, and then turn those sounds into recognizable words. This process is an important factor for separating sounds heard in conversation from those heard in noisy situations, such as street traffic or busy restaurants. You may actually need to practice these skills in order to maintain them. If you’ve had hearing loss for a while, these skills may need to be recovered.

What is the Middle Ear’s Role in Hearing Loss?

Your ears depend on some important parts to fully function. Some people experience hearing loss as a result of damage to the bone in the middle of the ear. These are known as the cochlea, which work in synchronization with the brain’s auditory nerves. Think of it like a small stereo speaker vibrating with sound. The clarity of sound can be adversely affected by damage to the cochlea, almost like a damaged speaker.

Can Technology Help My Hearing Loss?

New technology in hearing aids is better “dialed-in” to the challenges of hearing loss than ever before. Many models now offer the ability to effectively separate types of sound, especially speech from background noise. Many also enable you to tune the volume and clarity levels to adapt to your short-term needs and over time. Your investment in hearing aids is sound in both performance and value.

The first step to beginning to take advantage of the technologies hearing aids can offer you is to get an evaluation with an audiologist. It’s important to remember, the longer you try to ignore a hearing loss, the more difficult it can be for your ears and your brain to adapt and re-train themselves to hear and process sounds properly. Early detection and treatment is important.