Understanding your hearing loss and its consequences
To hear is to participate
Hearing and understanding are the lifeblood of the world around you. They allow you to communicate and interact with others. It is also a source of fun and information. Sense of hearing is often taken for granted, but its gradual impairment can impact your ability to participate actively in life.
A voice can be very moving and convey ideas, emotions and feelings. Each word spoken, composed of sounds and timbres, sources of understanding, allows us to establish and maintain human relationships.
Difficulty understanding speech in noisy places?
Do you recognize yourself in these situations?
- I hear but I don't understand, especially in noisy areas.
- She does not speak clearly enough. She is mumbling her words.
- I often confuse similar words.
- I often pretend I understand when I don’t.
- Understanding in restaurants is so difficult that I just don't go anymore.
Hearing loss may be the reason
Hearing loss affects your ability to understand speech, especially in noisy environments. They cause a particular difficulty in hearing the consonants P, K, F, H and a loss of all sounds with T, Sh and S.
When voices become less clear
Hearing loss can gradually set in, without you even noticing it at first. Some sounds remain audible, while others weaken and become difficult to hear. Communication then becomes more and more difficult and requires greater effort.
It is the higher pitched sounds that are the most difficult to hear and understand. Low intensity high-pitched consonants, such as S, F, CH, and T play a crucial role in our ability to clearly understand speech. This is why people with hearing loss often say, "I hear but I don't understand." Hear without understanding.
Understanding your audiogram
This diagram illustrates both the volume and frequency of different everyday sounds. The sound becomes louder from top to bottom and higher from left to right. For example, a truck produces a loud, very low-pitched sound, which is at the left and bottom of the diagram. In contrast, a bird song is very soft and very high-pitched, so up and to the right. The diagram also shows the characteristic volume and frequency of different letters.
Measuring hearing ability plots the quietest sounds a person can hear on this diagram, called hearing thresholds. The position of these hearing thresholds indicates the person's level of hearing loss, as detailed on the right of the diagram. Thus, sounds above your audiogram curve, and therefore lower than the hearing threshold, cannot be heard without the aid of a hearing aid.