Can Hearing Aids Help With Speech Clarity And Understanding?

private hearing aids - hand holding small inconspicuous hearing aid

Because the principle of hearing aids is far older than the technology currently used in them, there are a few misconceptions about how they work and what private hearing aids can do for people who are dealing with mild hearing loss.

Whilst they can provide amplified audio, they are far more than audio amplifiers such as headphones and headsets, and whilst some modern earbuds can, in a pinch, work as hearing aids, they lack many features that hard-of-hearing people rely on.

As well as this, they can help people hear more clearly and understand speech more succinctly in ways that go beyond simply turning the volume up on the world around them.

A great example of this in action is exploring how hearing aids can help not only with volume but also with understanding.

The Complexities Of Hearing Loss

The process of hearing is somewhat more complex than many people think because it does not just involve the ear but also the audio-processing part of the brain working in tandem.

Part of the reason why hearing aids are believed to help with dementia is that they stimulate the part of the brain in charge of audio processing, but it works in a way that is more subtle and sophisticated than simply making sounds louder.

A common complaint people have but do not realise can be tied to their hearing is that they feel like they can hear someone fine, as in the sounds are at an appropriate volume, but not all of the sounds are comprehensible, and so people sound like they are muttering, mumbling or that the problem is on the part of the speaker.

The reason for this comes down to the differences in pitch between vowel and consonant sounds.

Vowel sounds tend to be easy for the ear to pick up because they are relatively low in pitch, however consonant sounds, particularly sibilant (“S” sounds) plosive (“P” sounds) and fricative (“F”, “V” and “Th”) sounds.

As consonant sounds are the most distinctive and important to hear to distinguish different words, certain words can blur together, leading to difficulties in understanding and potential social faux pas events occurring.

It can also lead to difficulties hearing other people during phone calls, misunderstanding children’s voices or not being able to enjoy the same music you used to.

An audiology test will often confirm if the cause of this difficulty in parsing speech is caused by a hearing impairment, and if it is the case, then in the vast majority of cases a hearing aid is a very effective solution.

Not only does it help with improving comprehension, but it also reduces listening fatigue, where other parts of the brain compensate for hearing loss, often leading to a reduced ability to focus on other tasks and a general lack of mental energy.

There are other causes of hearing difficulty, including certain types of auditory processing disorders or other issues with the auditory nerve, but an audiology test or hearing aid will ensure that your hearing is getting the best possible help to make speech comprehension easier.