Don't Assume That I Hear Like You

Hearing devices can be life changing for some and with a severe hearing loss, wearing a pair of hearing aids can be a necessity. Speech and sounds transmitted through hearing aids or implants do not sound the same as listening through the ears we were born with, assuming that they were perfect from the start.

This week a patient told me that when she asked to repeat part of a conversation, the person she was speaking to was surprised that she was unable hear every word while wearing hearing aids. She assumed that hearing aids replicated perfect sound. Even though technology has come a long way, the ears that process sound are often the culprits to blame.

Listening through less than perfect ears can add distortion. Piecing together missing parts of conversation can leave the listener lost. Even those with perfect hearing may not hear or misinterpret what was said. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that hearing aid wearers may miss parts of conversation too.

Problems with listening may be due to poor processing at the level of the brain. Not only do we have to be able to hear the sounds, but our brain needs to process and categorize this information. It is possible to have a loss of volume, loss of clarity or a brain that has difficulty processing and interpreting. It is quite possible to have a combination of these issues.

Hearing aids and implants are added assistance. Please don’t criticize when someone misses conversation with hearing aids. Face the person you are speaking to, speak a little slower and use a normal tone of voice. Your efforts will be appreciated. And if you find yourself asking to repeat more than you used to, schedule an appointment with an Audiologist. We’re waiting to meet you.

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