Why Can I Hear But Not Understand?

One comment we hear time and time again is, “I can hear people talking, but I can’t understand what they’re saying”.

Three reasons why this might be happening.

High frequency hearing loss

High frequency loss makes it difficult to understand the articulated high pitch consonant sounds that help you understand whether someone said, face and space. Those subtle sounds are important in order to correctly understand what someone is saying.

Our brains are very smart. The brain will use lip reading cues to determine the right letter but sometimes doesn’t always get it right.

Correcting with hearing aids is the best way to attain clarity to hear those sounds you are missing.

Noisy Environments

A second reason you may have trouble hearing what people say is because of a noisy environment. Even people without a hearing loss can struggle to hear someone when it is noisy.

This is known as the Cocktail Party Effect where competing sounds make it difficult for you to follow a single conversation.

Directional microphones in hearing aids combined with the computer processing that prioritizes delivering speech to your ears. These are a must have feature in modern hearing aids.

The brains ability to process sound

The third reason may not be your ears, your ears may be working just fine. The issue might be auditory deprivation. To understand words it is necessary to hear all the speech sounds, transmit them to the brain, and decode the meaning. If anything disrupts this sequence it is likely that you will hear but not understand.

This means the sound is going into your ears just fine but your brain is having trouble interpreting what you hear into things you can understand.

Over time people with a hearing loss can become less engaged in social environments. They may also switch off from life which results in depression, social isolation and increases risk of Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

If you are or have been experiencing difficulty hearing CALL NOW and take the first steps you need to find out if you are a candidate for hearing aids. Absolute Hearing Care Centers are happy to offer a FREE consultation and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.

CALL NOW: 843-839-1936

Hearing Aid Cost in Perspective.

If you’re shopping for hearing aids, you likely have a number of questions about your investment, such as:

How much will my hearing aids really cost?

How can I be sure I’m getting the best price on my hearing aids?

Will insurance or Medicare cover hearing aids?

What payment options are available?

Price is a major consideration when it comes to hearing aids, as it should be. A hearing aid might be the most advanced piece of technology someone will ever own. Hearing aids are advanced computers that are meant to work as one with our bodies. Hundreds of millions of dollars go into their research and development every year. How we perceive sound is so delicate that a highly advanced piece of technology is required to do the job right.

Why is sound so complicated?  Sound can be perceived differently from one person to another. Just because you can hear well at some frequencies doesn’t mean that you can hear well at all frequencies.  Most people with hearing loss don’t have a problem hearing sound itself. Their difficulty lies in hearing it clearly among all the sounds of life that exists in the world. It’s not easy to listen to a child’s voice in a crowded room. A listener not only has to hear the child, they must be able understand them too.  We can close our eyes and know a car is driving by us or a plane is flying over-head. We’re able to distinguish the difference between the ocean waves from a hand clap. It’s possible to tell if something is in front of us or behind us, if it’s close or far away. The examples are endless.

What is this sense of sound and overall awareness worth to us?  Putting hearing aid cost into perspective. The average pair of hearing aids will last about 5 years. When you look only at the one time up front cost it may seem somewhat expensive at first glance. But when you break it down to the monthly cost over a 5 year period the value becomes obvious. Depending on what hearing aids you select, the monthly cost could be just over $100 for the higher end products or just under $50 for the more value oriented ones. Let’s keep it easy and split that right down the middle and say the 5 year cost of hearing aids is around $75 per month. What does that compare to? Hearing aids now become similar to a cable bill. You could be in a set of high quality hearing aids for the same cost as your daily coffee. If you decide on value oriented hearing aids, the monthly cost could be less than a tank of gas.

If you are or have been experiencing difficulty hearing CALL NOW and take the first steps you need to find out if you are a candidate for hearing aids. Absolute Hearing Care Centers are happy to offer a FREE consultation and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.

CALL NOW: 843-839-1936

Why do I HEAR but not UNDERSTAND?

By definition SPEECH is a complex series of sounds that we make to verbally communicate ideas. We produce a full spectrum of speech sounds from low pitches (voiced sounds from our vocal cords – “ay’ “ee’,’ “I’,’ etc.) to high pitches (ar-ticulated speech sounds from the front of our mouths, lips, tongue, and teeth – “ch”, “f’,’ “sh’,’ “t’,’ etc.) to form our words. To be HEARD those sounds travel through the air to the listener’s ears where the sound vibrations are transmitted through the ear canal, ear drum, and ossicles into the cochlea (the “hearing organ”). Inside the cochlea are micro-scopic hearing hair cells that pick up these sound vibrations and activate nerves to send impulses to the brain for pro-cessing into UNDERSTANDING.

When a person states, “I hear, but can’t understand” it’s important to determine if the problem relates to 1) incom-plete sound pick up (i.e. damaged hearing hair cells), or 2) difficulty processing (i.e. nerve damage, auditory depriva-tion). A thorough hearing evaluation will include, among other things, both pure-tone audiometry tests (to see if there is difficulty hearing certain pitches) and speech testing (to see how well the brain can discriminate speech sounds when they are made loud enough to hear).

When a patient states, “It’s not me, I can hear a pin drop, everyone just mumbles” pure-tone audiometry will usually find that the patient has normal low pitch hearing but that they have hearing loss in the high pitches. Though the pa-tient thinks they hear well, they unknowingly have damage to the part of the cochlea responsible for picking up high pitches, the most important pitches for clarifying speech de-tails!

Call us today to schedule a thorough, no-cost hearing evaluation with one of our licensed providers and get honest answers about your hearing.

Paul Retey is the founder and a hearing aid specialist at Absolute Hearing Care Centers.

Why a hearing aid and not just an amplifier?

When your hearing healthcare provider has determined that no pill or surgery can restore your damaged hearing, amplification simply becomes the best option versus the alternatives of lip reading, sign language, or doing nothing.

Inexpensive personal sound amplifiers pick up incoming sounds and indiscriminately increase the volume of all those sounds to make everything louder for the wearer. For some types of hearing loss (usually similar/constant decibel hearing loss across all pitch ranges) and in quiet environments results can be quite astounding. For those whose hearing has gone undiagnosed for a long time, the sensation of hearing soft sounds like papers rustling, birds chirping, and even footsteps will be amazing upon initial trial of these devices. However, without the advanced features of hearing aids, these sound amplifiers cannot achieve satisfactory results of clarity and speech understanding in life’s real world varied situations and quickly end up as a waste of money “in the drawer”.

Your hearing healthcare provider will, after a thorough evaluation and consultation, recommend digital, programmable hearing devices that can correct your loss and match your lifestyle needs across all of your listening environments. Only hearing aids contain technological features enabling your specialist to custom tailor the devices to achieve these results. For example, hearing aids are safely programmed by your specialist to frequency match the hearing aids outputs to your unique measured hearing loss at each frequency. This means you get amplification where you need it – CLARITY -, not just everything being louder. Hearing aids also feature automatic gain control where your specialist can set the hearing aids’ response to soft, moderate, and loud sounds independently for how your auditory needs to receive these signals. This enables hearing aid wearers to transition in and out of quiet and loud environments seamlessly. Hearing aids also employ automatic noise reduction. The complex computer circuitry of hearing aids is designed to analyze incoming sounds to distinguish between speech (to be made audible) and non-speech noise (to be suppressed). It’s then obvious that wearers with such technology enjoy better speech communication in challenging noise environments – groups, restaurants, and environments with background noise.

These are just a few illustrative examples of technological features available to your specialist when you are fit with modern, digital, programmable hearing devices. If you suspect hearing loss, call us to schedule a thorough, no-cost hearing evaluation and consultation with one of our licensed providers. We’ll give you honest answers about your hearing and you can find out which hearing aid technologies may be available to enable you not only to hear – BUT TO UNDERSTAND.